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St. Paul's Conception of Christianity 

By Prof. A. B. Bruce, D.D. 

The Place of Christ in Modern Theology 

By Prof. A. M. Fairbairn, M.A., D.D. 

The Beginnings of Christianity 

By Prof. George P. Fisher, D.D. 

Life and Letters of Erasmus 

By Prof. J. A. Froude 
The Unity of the Book of Genesis 

By Prof. William H. Green, D.D., LL.D. 
The Life of Martin Luther 

By Julius Kostlin 
What Is the Bible? 

By Prof. George T. Ladd, D.D. 
The Problem of the Old Testament 

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The Evidence of Christian Experience 

By Prof. Louis F. Stearns, D.D. 
The Pauline Theology 

By Prof. George B. Stevens, Ph.D., D.D. 
Bernard of Clairvaux 

By Rev. R. S. Storrs, D.D., LL.D., L.H.D. 
Friendship the Master Passion 

By Rev. H. Clay Trumbull, D.D. 

The Conflict of Christianity and Heathenism 

By Dr. Gerhard Uhlhorn 
The Essence of Christianity 

By Prof. William Adams Brown, D.D. 
History of the Jewish Church. 3 Vols. 

By Dr. A. P. Stanley 

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i9 J 3 



Preface To the Original Edition . , [15] 




The Family of Saul 4 

His Call 5 

His Personal Appearance ..{.... 7 

His First Victory 9 

The Philistine War 9 

Jonathan II 

The Battle of Michmash 12 

Character and Position of Saul— The First King ... 15 

His Court 15 

His Imperfect Conversion ....... 16 

His Opposition to the Prophets 17 

His Superstition and Madness . . . , . 19, 20 

His Relations to David and Jonathan .... 20-22 

The Battle of Mount Gilboa 22 

The Death of Saul 25 

Ishbosheth ; his Reign and Death 26, 27 

Sacrifice of Saul's Family 28 

Mephibosheth 29 

Sympathy for Saul and his House 29 

David's Lament 31 

The Tribe of Benjamin ...... 33 



The Parents of David ...... # # 37 

His Birthplace • • • 38 


LECTURE XXII. -continued. 


His Brothers and Nephews ...... 39 

His Personal Appearance ....... 40 

His Shepherd Life , , 42 

His Minstrelsy ......... 42 

His Martial Exploits ....... 44 

The Battle of Ephes-dammim ...... 45 

His Rise in the Court of Saul 48 

His Friendship with Jonathan ...... 49 

His Escape 49 

His Wanderings : 

At the Court of Achish ....... 52 

In the Hold 53 

In the Hills of Judah ....... 55 

At Engedi . * 56 

Nabal and Abigail ........ 58 

Return to Achish ........ 59 

Effects of his Wanderings 61 



Reign at Hebron 64 

Capture of Jerusalem 66 

Entrance of the Ark 69 — 7 1 

Consecration of the City 70 

Inauguration of the Name of Jehovah-Sabaoth ... 72 

Empire of David 75 

Its Organisation ........ 76 

1. Royal Family ....... 76 

2. The Army : 

{a) The Host ....... 76 

(d) The Body Guard 77 

(c) The Six Hundred 78 

3. Officers of State . . • • • • 79 

4. The Prophets and Priests ..... 80 
Religious Supremacy of David .... 81 
His Wars 82 

Philistine War 82 

Moabite War 83 

Ammonite, Syrian, and Edomite War .... 83 — 85 

Siege and Capture of Rabbah 86 





Uriah and Bathsheba 89 

The Murder of Uriah 90 

The Apologue of Nathan 91 

Repentance of David ....... 92 

Death of his Child ........ 94 

His Polygamy 95 

Amnon and Tamar 96 

Conspiracy of Absalom ........ 98 

Flight of David 99— 103 

Death of Ahithophel 104 

David at Mahanaim — Death of Absalom . . . 105 — 107 

The Return 108 

Revolt of Sheba 109 

Murder of Amasa ........ 1 10 

The Census 1 1 1 

The Plague . . . . . . . . . Ill 

Araunah . . . . . . . • . . 113 

The Last Words of David 114— 117 

His Death and Burial 1 18, 119 



David's Character , . . . 120 

Origin of the Psalter 121 

Its Use in Various Ages 124, 125 

Causes of its Universality ....... 126 

1. Poetical Character 126 

2. Diversity of Elements 127 

Its Defects ......... 130 

Its Excellences ........ 130 

1. Personal Experiences 131 

2. Naturalness ........ 131 

3. Spiritual Life ....... 133 

Messianic Hopes • • • 135 



The Age of Solomon • . i 141 

His Accession 



LECTURE XXVI.- continued. 


His visit to Gibeon— and his Dream 149 

His Judgment ......... 150 

I. External Relations of the Empire 151 

1. With Syria . 152 

2. With Egypt 153 

3. With Arabia 155 

4. With Tyre 155 

Commercial Enterprises ....... 157 

II. Internal Relations of the Empire 160 

Its Peaceful Condition . . . . . . 160 

Court and Camp of Solomon ..... 162, 163 

His Administration ....... 163 

Public Works at Jerusalem ....... 164 

The Palace . 165 

The Throne 166 

The Banquets 167 

The Stables 167 

The Gardens 168 

Royal State 169, 170 



The Building of the Temple— Its Style 172, 1 73 

The Colonnade 174 

The Court 175 

The Altar 175 

The Porch 178 

The Holy Place 178 

The Holy of Holies ........ 179 

The Dedication ......... 180 

The Procession 180 

The Consecration 185 

Contrast {a) with the Tabernacle 187 

(b) With Herod's Temple 187 

{c) With Pagan Temples 188 

\d) With Christian Churches 289 

Its Spiritual Aspect • • • 190 



The Introduction of Solomon's Wisdom . . . . , 193 

Its Justice 195 

Its Comprehensiveness . . . . . . . 196 

LECTURE XXVlll.— continue. 


Variety of its Parts 197 

(1) His Riddles ....... 197 

Queen of Sheba 198 

(2) His Science 200 

(3) His Songs 202 

(4) His Proverbs ....... 204 

Later Solomonian Books ...... 207 

The Decline of Solomon 210 

Its Causes : 

1. Polygamy ........ 211 

2. Polytheism . 212 

3. Despotism 213 

4. Absence of Prophets 214 

The End of Solomon— Ecclesiastes 215,216 



The Kingdom of Israel : 

National Character 223 

Prophetical Character 224 

Splendour ......... 226 

The Disruption 231 

Jeroboam 233 

Ahijah .......... 234 

Shemaiah 235 

Consecration of Dan and Bethel 236 

Iddo 237 

The Sin of Jeroboam ........ 238 



The House of Omri • • . 242 

Foundation of Samaria , 242 

The Reign of Ahab 243 

Rebuilding of Jericho 243 

Foundation of Jezreel ....... 244 

Jezebel 244 

The Persecution 246 



LECTU RE XXX. —continued. 


Elijah 247 

The Drought 252 

The Widow of Zarephath 253 

The Meeting on Carmel 256 

Vision at Horeb ........ 263 

Naboth's Vineyard .....•••• 266 

The Curse on Ahab 268 

The Vision of Micaiah 269 

The Death of Ahab 271 



Last Appearance of Elijah on Carmel . . • • • 272 

Translation of Elijah .....••• 273 

Elisha • 276 

Contrast with Elijah 277 



Gehazi • • • 282 

The Call of Jehu 282 

His Arrival at Jezreel ....... 285 

The Death of Jezebel 285 

Jehonadab 287 

Massacre at Samaria 288 

Character of Jehu 289 



The Syrian Wars : 

Damascus ......... 293 

Ramoth-Gilead ........ 294 

Siege of Samaria 295 

Elisha the Prophet of Syria 296 

Jeroboam II • » • • 299 

Conquest of Moab ..•••••• 300 

Jonah . 300 





Moral Corruption of the Kingdom 307 

Amos 309 

Physical Calamities 310 

Rise of Assyria ......... 311 

End of the House of Jehu 312 

Fall of the trans-Jordanic Tribes 313 

Hoshea 315 

Capture of Samaria . 316 

HOSEA . 317 

Exiles in Assyria ......... 320 

Nahum 320 

Tobit 321 

The Samaritan Sect . 322 

The Lessons of the Samaritan History . . . . . 323 



Characteristics of the History of Judah 327 

External Struggle 329 

Egyptian Invasion , . 330 

Jehoshaphat's Wars ........ 332 

Internal Struggle ......... 335 

Maacah 336 

Reforms of Asa and Jehoshaphat 336, 337 

Athaliah . 

Revolution of Jehoiada ........ 340 

Coronation of Joash ........ 341 

His Reforms 343 

Death of Jehoiada 344 

Murder of Zechariah 345 

Death of Joash 346 



The Name of the Priesthood 348 

Its Origin 349 

Connexion with the Tribe of Levi ..... 349 

Military Character ........ 350 


LECTURE XXXVI.— continued. 


Sacrificial System ......... 352 

Representative Functions 355 

Subordinate Duties of Instruction 357 

The Book of Chronicles 358 

Oracular Responses 359 

Benedictions ......... 360 

History of the Office 361 

Connexion with the General Condition of Society . . 361 

Improvements by David and Solomon .... 362 

Its Growth in the Kingdom of Judah, and after the Captivity 363, 364 

Its Inferior Place ........ 364 

Its Importance ........ 366 

Christian Illustrations drawn from it 368 



Prosperity of Amaziah . 371 

Uzziah 372 

Jotham 373 

Calamities 373 

Locusts • . . . . 373 

The Great Fast 374 

Earthquake 376 

Growth of Priesthood 377 

The Nobles 378 

The Prophets 379 

Joel 380 

Amos 381 

Zechariah 381 

Micah 381 

Isaiah 383 

His Call 386 

And Mission • • • 389 



Ahaz 392 

Isaiah's Prediction of Immanuel 395 

Hezekiah 396 

His Conversion 397 

His Reforms — Passover 399 

Destruction of High Places ...... 400 

And of the Brazen Serpent ..••»• 400 

LECTURE XXXVlll.— continued. 


Invasion of Sennacherib 402 

Submission of Hezekiah 405 

His Resistance 407 

Encouragement of Isaiah 410 

Fall of Sennacherib 411 

Sickness of Hezekiah . . • . , , , , 416 

Recovery ......•••• 417 

Babylonian Embassy . . . , . • • • 418 

Death of Hezekiah . 419 



Manasseh . 420 

Martyrdom of Isaiah 422 

Repentance of Manasseh , 424 

Habakkuk ......... 425 

Josiah • • • • 427 

Discovery of the Book of the Law . • • • • 427 

Deuteronomy ......... 428 

Reformation • • . • 429 

Zephaniah 431 

The Invasion of the Scythians 432 

The Invasion of Necho ....•••• 435 

Death of Josiah • • • 436 



Importance of the Fall of Jerusalem 440 

Party of the Heathen Princes 441 

Party of the Priests and Prophets 442 

Party of Jeremiah • • . 442 

Jeremiah : 

His Solitude • • . . 443 

His Doctrines ...•.,,., 444 

His Character .....,.., 446 

His Griefs .....,,,, 447 

His Spiritual Teaching 448 

Jehoahaz 45! 

Jehoiakim 452 

Uri J ah : 453 

Jeremiah in the Temple •••••••• 453 

Battle of Carchemish •••••••• 455 


LECTURE XL.— continued. 



Policy of Jeremiah 456 

His Warnings 457 

Death of Jehoiakim 460 

Jehoiachin 461 

His Fall 462 

Zedekiah 464 

Last Struggle of Jeremiah 465 

The Siege 469 

The Assault 471 

Flight and Exile of Zedekiah 473 

Destruction of the City ........ 474 

Lamentations of Jeremiah 477 

Gedaliah . * 478 

End of Jeremiah ........ 481, 482 

Ezekiel 482 

His Prophecies to the Exiles ...... 484 

His Doctrine ......... 486 

Dirge over the Nations ....... 489 

His Revival 491 

The Second Portion of Isaiah 494 

Conclusion 496 

Note A. On Isaiah xl. — lxvi. 499 

Note B. On the Authorship of the Books of the Old Testament 501 

INDEX 507 

Map of Palestine after the Conquest . . . Frontispiece 

„ Plain of Esdraelon .... To face 3 

„ Palestine during the Monarchy • • ,, 139 



This volume, like that which preceded it, contains the substance 
of Lectures delivered from the Chair of Ecclesiastical History 
in the University of Oxford. Whilst still disclaiming, as before, 
any pretensions to critical or linguistic research, I gladly ac- 
knowledge my increased debt to the scholars and divines who 
have traversed this ground : Ewald, in his great work on the 
* History of the People of Israel,' to which I must here add his 
no less important work on the Prophets : Dean Milman, in his 
1 History of the Jews,' now republished in its completer form ; 
Dr. Pusey's ' Commentary on the Minor Prophets ' ; the nume- 
rous writers on the Old Testament, in Dr. Smith's ' Dictionary 
1 of the Bible ' — Mr. Grove, especially, to whom I am once 
more indebted for his careful revision of the text of this volume, 
and for frequent suggestions of which I have constantly availed 
myself. 1 Many thoughts have, doubtless, been confirmed or 

1 For various illustrations of the occupies so large a space in this period of 

manners and customs, I must express the history, demands further notice than I 

my obligations to the kindness of Mr. have given to it. But the extreme uncer- 

Morier, who has allowed me the use of a tainty in which— till further excavations 

Bible, copiously annotated by his brother, are possible— it is of necessity involved, has 

the well-known Minister at the Court of withheld me from offering any detailed 

Persia, from his own personal experience plan or theory, either of the City or Temple 

of the East. beyond such general indications as can be 

The topography of Jerusalem, which gathered from the ancient descriptions. 


originated by Mr. Maurice's 'Sermons on the Prophets and 
' Kings.' 

The general principles which have guided the selection of 
topics, and the general sources from which the materials are 
drawn, are too similar to those which I have set forth in the 
Preface to my former volume to need any additional remark. 

A few special observations, however, are suggested by the 
peculiarities of the portion of the history on which we now 

i. Although there still remains the same difficulty which 
occurs in the earlier period, of distinguishing between the 
poetical and the historical portions of the narrative, yet the his- 
torical element here so far preponderates, and the mass of un- 
questionably contemporary literature is so far larger, that I 
have ventured much more freely than before to throw the Lec- 
tures into the form of a continuous narrative ; believing that 
thus best the Sacred History would be enabled to speak for 
itself. There are, doubtless, many passages in which the 
groundwork of facts and the Oriental figures are too closely 
interwoven to be at this distance of time easily separated. 
There are others which bring out more distinctly than in the 
earlier history the interesting variations between the Hebrew 
text, which is the basis of our modern versions, and that which 
is represented by the Septuagint. Others again, especially 
where we have the advantage of comparing the parallel narra- 
tives of the Books of Kings and of Chronicles, exhibit diver- 
sities which cannot be surmounted, except by an arbitrary 
process of excision, which we are hardly justified in adopting, 
and which would obliterate the value of the separate records. 
In chronology, even after the reign of Solomon, the same con- 
fusions which occur in other ancient histories occur here also. 
Lord Arthur Hervey, whose praiseworthy devotion to this branch 
of Biblical study gives peculiar weight to his authority, finds the 


dates so unmanageable as to suggest to him the probability that 
they are added by another hand. Others, such as Mr. Fynes 
Clinton, Mr. Greswell, and Dr. Pusey, 1 adopt the course of 
rejecting as spurious the indications of time which, from inter- 
nal evidence, they cannot reconcile with what seems to be 
required by the history. 

Still on the whole the substantially historical character of 
the narrative is admitted by all. Even the chronological 2 un- 
certainties, considerable as they are, are compressed within 
comparatively narrow limits. The constant references of the 
books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles to records which, 
though lost, were evidently contemporary, furnish a guarantee 
for the general truthfulness of the narrative, such as no other 
ancient history not itself contemporary can exhibit. The 
parallel stream of Prophetic literature gives a wholly indepen- 
dent confirmation of the same kind, in some instances extend- 
ing even to incidents which are preserved to us only in the 
later Chronicles 3 and Josephus. The allusions to Jewish his- 
tory in the Assyrian and Egyptian, and we may now add 
Moabite, monuments— and the undoubted recurrence of the 
same imagery in the sculptures as that employed by the Pro- 
phets, are valuable as illustrations of the Biblical history even 
where they cannot be used as con^rmations of it. 4 Jewish and 
Arabian traditions relating to this period, if less striking, are at 
least more within the bounds of probability, and more likely to 
contain some grains of historical truth than those which relate 

1 See, for example, 2 Kings xxiv. 8 ; * These monuments cannot properly be 

2 Chr. xxxvi. 9 ; Dr. Pusey 's note on said to contain confirmations of the 

Daniel the Prophet, p. 313. Jewish history— because, with very few 

* As the nearest approximation, I have exceptions, the only events in that history 

affixed the most important dates from to which they refer are such as have never 

Clinton's Fasti Helleniti, vol. i. Appendix, been doubted by any one, and therefore 

c v. are much more in a condition to give 

3 E.g. in the earthquake of Uzziah's their weight to the confessedly doubtful 

reign (see Lecture XXXVII.), and the interpretation of the cuneiform inscriptions 

captivity of Manasseh (see Lecture than to receive any corroboration from it. 

11. a 


to the Patriarchal age. And as before, so now, even when of 
unquestionably late origin, they seemed to be worthy of notice, 
as filling up the outline of the forms which the personages and 
events of this history have assumed in large periods, and to 
large masses, of mankind. 

2. These are the materials from which the following Lec- 
tures are drawn. It will be seen that what they profess to give 
is not a commentary on the Sacred text, but a delineation of 
the essential features of the history of the Jewish Church, dur- 
ing the second period 1 of its existence. In so doing, it has 
been impossible to suppress the horrors consequent on the 

* hardness of heart ' which characterised the Israelite nation, 
nor the shortcomings 2 which disfigured some of its greatest 
heroes. 'Let me freely speak unto you of the Patriarch 
1 David :' 3 such is the spirit in which we should endeavour to 
handle the story of the founder of the monarchy. ' Elijah was 

* a man of like passions with ourselves :' 4 such is the view with 
which we ought to approach even the grandest of the ancient 
Prophets. ' These all, having obtained a good report through 
'faith, received not the promise:' 5 such is the distinction 
which we ought always to bear in mind between the rough vir- 
tues and imperfect knowledge of the Old Dispensation, and the 
higher hopes and graces of the New. 

But our faith in the transcendent interest of the story, the 
general nobleness of its characters, and the splendour of the 
truths proclaimed by it, ought not to allow of any fear lest they 
should suffer either from the occasional uncertainty of the form 
in which they have been handed down to us, or from a nearer 
view of ' the crust of human passion and error ' which encloses 

1 For the three divisions of the History, a Kings i. to (comp. Luke ix. S4~5<5) ; Jer. 

see Introduction to Vol. I. p. [27]. xviii. 23 (comp. Luke xxiii. 34), xx. 7, 14, 

8 The use of this word has been severely xxxviii. 27. 
condemned. It is sufficient to refer to 3 Acts ii. 29. * James v. 17. 

1 Sam. xii. 7, 13, 31 ; 1 Kings xiii. 26 ; s Heb. xi. 39. 


'without obscuring the luminous centre o» spiritual truth.' 1 
The beauty of the narrative, and the charm of its incidents, if 
not belonging to the highest form of Inspiration, is yet a gift of 
no ordinary value, which perhaps no previous generation has 
been so well able to appreciate as our own. The lessons of 
perennial wisdom which the history imparts, even irrespectively 
of traditional usage, justify, I humbly trust, the practical appli- 
cations that I have ventured to draw from it, and form the real 
grounds of distinction between it and other histories, as also 
between the essential and the subordinate parts of its own con- 
tents. In the sublime elevation 2 of the moral and spiritual 
teaching of the Psalmists and Prophets, in the eagerness with 
which they look out of themselves, and out of their own time 
and nation, for the ultimate hope of the human race — far more 
than in their minute predictions of future events — is to be 
found the best proof of their Prophetic spirit. In the loftiness 
of the leading characters of this epoch, who hand on the truth, 
each succeeding as the other fails, with a mingled grace and 
strength which penetrate even into the outward form of the 
poetry or prose of the narrative — rather than in the marvellous 
displays of power which are found equally in the records of 
saints in other times and in other religions — is the true sign of 
the Supernatural, which no criticism or fear of criticism can 
ever eliminate. They rise ' above the nature ' not only of their 
own times, but of their own peculiar circumstances. They are 
not so much representative characters as exceptional. Their 
life and teaching involve a struggle and protest against some of 
the deepest prejudices and passions of their countrymen, such 
as we find, if at all, only in two or three of the most exalted 

1 'The National Church,' by H. B. see the impressive Sermon of Dean Milman 
Wilson, M.D., in Essays and Reincws, on Hebrew Prophecy— impressive alike 
p. 77. from its contents and from the circum- 

1 For a corroboration of the views put stances of its delivery, 
forth on this subject in my first volume, 

a 2 


philosophers and heroes of other ages. The rude ceremonial, 
the idolatrous tendencies, even some of the worst vices, against 
which they contended, were almost inseparably intertwined with 
the popular devotions not only of the surrounding nations, 
but of their own people. ' The religious world ' of the Jewish 
Church is to them, as to a Greater than they, an unfailing 
cause of grief, of surprise, of indignation. In the name of 
God they attack that which to all around them seems to be 
religion. Their clinging trust to the One Supreme source of 
spiritual goodness and truth, with its boundless consequences, 
is the chief as it is the sufficient cause of their pre-eminence. 
Other parts of their history may be preternatural. This is in 
the highest degree supernatural, because this alone brings them 
into direct communion with that which is Divine and Eternal. 

3. Closely connected with this thought is the relation of the 
literature and history of the Jewish Commonwealth to the events 
of the Christian Dispensation. I may be allowed to express by 
an illustration the true mode of regarding this question. In 
the gardens of the Carthusian Convent, which the Dukes of 
Burgundy built near Dijon for the burial-place of their race, is 
a beautiful monument, the only fragment of that splendid edi- 
fice which escaped the ravages of the French Revolution. It 
consists of a group of Prophets and Kings from the Old Testa- 
ment, each holding in his hand a scroll of mourning — each with 
his own individual costume, and gesture, and look — each dis- 
tinguished from each by the most marked peculiarities of age 
and character, absorbed in the thoughts of his own time and 
country. But above these figures is a circle of angels, as like 
each to each as the human figures are unlike. They, too, as 
each overhangs and overlooks the Prophet below him, are sad- 
dened with grief. But their expression of sorrow is far deeper 
and more intense than that of the Prophets whose words they 
read They see something in the Prophetic sorrow which the 


Prophets themselves see not : they are lost in the contemplation 
of the Divine Passion, of which the ancient saints below them 
are but the unconscious and indirect exponents. 

This exquisite mediaeval monument, expressing as it does 
the instinctive feeling at once of the truthful artist and of the 
devout Christian, represents better than any words the sense of 
what we call in theological language ' the Types ' of the Old 
Testament. The heroes and saints of old times, not in Judea 
only, — though there more frequently than in any other country, 
— are indeed ' types,' that is, ' likenesses,' in their sorrows of 
the Greatest of all sorrows, in their joys of the Greatest of all 
joys, in their goodness of the Greatest of all goodness, in their 
truth of the Greatest of all truths. This deep inward connexion 
between the events of their own time and the crowning close 
of the history of their whole nation — this gradual convergence 
towards the event which, by general acknowledgment, ranks 
chief in the annals of mankind — is clear not only to the all- 
searching Eye of Providence, but also to the eye of any who 
look above the stir and movement of earth. It is part not only 
of the foreknowledge of God, but of the universal workings 
of human nature and human history. The angels see though 
man sees not. The mind flies silently upwards from the 
earthly career of David, or Isaiah, or Ezekiel, to those vaster 
and wider thoughts which they imperfectly represented. ' The 
' rustic murmur ' of Jerusalem was, although they knew it not, 
part of 'the great wave that echoes round the world.' It is a 
continuity recognised by the Philosophy of History no less than 
by Theology — by Hegel even more closely than by Augustine. 
But the sorrow, the joy, the goodness, the truth of those ancient 
heroes is notwithstanding entirely their own. They are not 
mere machines or pictures. When they speak of their trials 
and difficulties, they speak of them as from their own experi- 
ence. By studying them with all the peculiarities of their 


time, we arrive at a profounder view of the truths and events to 
which their expressions and the story of their deeds may be 
applied in after ages, than if we regard them as the organs of 
sounds unintelligible to themselves and with no bearing on 
their own period. When there is a sentiment common to them 
and to Christian times, a word or act which breaks forth into 
the distant future, it will be reverently caught up by those who 
are on the watch for it, to whom it will speak words beyond 
their words, and thoughts beyond their thoughts. 'Did not 
1 our heart burn within us while He talked with us by the way, 
1 and while He opened to us the Scriptures?' But, even in the 
act of uttering these sentiments, they still remained encom- 
passed with human, Jewish, Oriental peculiarities, which must 
not be explained away or softened down, for the sake of pro- 
ducing an appearance of uniformity which may be found in the 
Koran, but which it is hopeless to seek in the Bible, and which, 
if it were found there, would completely destroy the historical 
character of its contents. To refuse to see the first and direct 
application of their expressions to themselves, is like an unwill- 
ingness — such as some simple and religious minds have felt — 
to acknowledge the existence, or to dwell on the topography, 
of the city of Jerusalem and the wilderness of Arabia, because 
those localities have been so long associated with the higher 
truths of spiritual religion. 

There will further result from this mode of approaching the 
subject the advantage of a juster appreciation of the Divine 
mission to which ' the Prophets and righteous men ' of former 
times bore witness. Resemblance of mere outward circum- 
stances, however exact, throws no light on the essential charac- 
ter of Him whose life they are brought to illustrate ; nor is it 
any such kind of resemblance which justifies the relation of 
that Life to the personal needs of mankind. But a real resem- 

1 Butler's Analogy, Part II. ch. v. § 5, 7. 


blance of moral and mental qualities or situations, which can 
be universally felt and understood, is a direct help to feel and 
understand in what consists the Character and Person of Him 
whom we are called upon to love and adore, and in what con- 
sists the possibility of our approach to Him. It is a fruitful 
illustration of the argument which pervades the ' Analogy ' of 
Bishop Butler, and which has been well brought out by our 
best modern divines — namely, that ' God gave His Son to the 
4 world, in the same way of goodness as He affords particular 
4 persons the friendly assistance of their fellow-creatures . . . 
4 in the same way of goodness, though in a transcendent and 
4 infinitely higher degree.' 1 It is only from the community of 
spirit which exists between the Manifestation of Christ and the 
likeness of Himself in the good men who preceded, or who 
succeeded, that we can speak of them either as His types or 
His followers. It is by thus speaking of them that we shall 
best conceive the work of Him in whom in the dispensation of 
4 the fulness of time all things were gathered together in one.* 

Both theirs and ours Thou art, 

As we and they are Thine ; 
Kings, Prophets, Patriarchs, all have part 

Along the sacred line. 

bond of union, dear 

And strong as is Thy grace ! 

Saints, parted by a thousand year, 

May there in heart embrace. 1 

The immediate preparation for that Manifestation in the 
period between the Captivity and the final overthrow of Jeru- 
salem and of the Jewish nation may be the subject of another 
volume, if life and strength are granted, amidst the pressure of 
other engagements, to continue a task begun in earlier and less 
disturbed days. 

1 Christian Ytar, on ' The Circumcision of Christ.' 


May the Students for whom these Lectures were specially 
intended receive them as the memorial of efforts, however im- 
perfect (if I may employ the words in which the plan of these 
Lectures was first indicated), ' so to delineate the outward 
' events of the Sacred History as that they should come home 
' with new power to those who by familiarity have almost 
1 ceased to regard them as historical truth at all : so to bring 
< out their inward spirit that the more complete realisation of 
' their outward form should not degrade, but exalt the Faith of 
' which they are the vehicle.' 

Deanery, Westminster : 
Wavtmber2, 1865. 



I Sam. ix. I — 2 Sam. iv. 12; ix.; xvi. 1 — 14; xix. 16 — 30 > xxL 
1— 14 ; 1 Kings ii. 8, 9 ; 36—46 ; 1 Chron. viii. 33—40 ; ix. 35 ; 
x. 14 (Hebrew and LXX.). 

Jewish Traditions : in Josephus, Ant. vi. 4— vii. 2, § 1 ; vii. 5, § 5 ; 
9, § 3, 4; 11, § 3; viii. 1, § 5: in Otho's Lexicon Rabbinico- 
philologicum> ' Saul : ' and in the Notes of Meyer to the Seder Olam. 

Mussulman Traditions : in the Koran (ii. 247-252) : and in D'Her- 
belot's Bibliotheque Orientale, ' Thalout ben Kissai.' 







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Samuel is the chief figure of the transitional period which 
opens the history of the Monarchy. 1 But there is another, on 
whom the character of the epoch is impressed still more strongly 
— who belongs to this period especially, and could belong to 
no other. 

Saul is the first King of Israel. In him that new and 
strange idea became impersonated. In him we feel that we 
have made a marked advance in the history — from the patri- 
archal and nomadic state, which concerns us mainly by its 
contrast with our own, to that fixed and settled state which 
has more or less pervaded the whole condition of the Church 
ever since. 

But, although in outward form Saul belonged to the new 
epoch, although even in spirit he from time to time threw him- 
self into it, yet on the whole he is a product of the earlier 
condition. Whilst Samuel's existence comprehends and over- 
laps both periods in the calmness of a higher elevation, the 
career of Saul derives its peculiar interest from the fact that it 
is the eddy in which both streams converge. In that vortex 
he struggles — the centre of events and persons greater than 
himself; and in that struggle he is borne down, and lost. It 
is this pathetic interest which has more than once suggested 

' See Lecture XVIII. 
£ 2 

4 EARLY LIFE OF SAUL. lect. xxi. 

the story of Saul as a subject for the modern drama, and which 
it is now proposed to draw out of the well-known incidents of his 
life. He is, we may say, the first character of the Jewish his- 
tory which we are able to trace out in any minuteness of detail. 
He is the first in regard to whom we can make out that whole 
connexion of a large family, father, uncle, cousin, sons, grand- 
sons, which as a modern historian ! well observes, is so impor- 
tant in making us feel that we have acquired a real acquaintance 
with any personage of past times. 

From the household of Abiel of the tribe of Benjamin two 
The family sons were Dorn > related to each other, either as cousins, 
of Saul. or as uncle and nephew. 2 The elder was Abner, 
the younger was Saul. 

It is uncertain in what precise spot of the territory of that 
fierce tribe the original seat of the family lay. It may have 
been the conical eminence amongst its central hills, known 
from its subsequent connexion with him as Gibeah-of-Saul. It 
way more probably the village of Zelah, on its extreme southern 
frontier, in which was the ancestral burial-place. 3 Although 
the family itself was of small importance, Kish, the son or 
grandson of Abiel, was regarded as a powerful and wealthy 
chief; and it is in connexion with the determination to recover 
his lost property that his son Saul fiist appears before us. 

A drove of asses, still the cherished animal of the Israelite 
chiefs, 4 had gone astray on the mountains. In search of them 
— by pathways of which every stage is mentioned, as if to mark 
the importance of the journey, but which have not yet been 
identified 5 — Saul wandered at his father's bidding, accompanied 
by a trustworthy servant, 6 traditionally believed to have been 
Doeg the Edomite, who acted as guide and guardian of the 
young man. After a three days' circuit they arrived at the 
foot of a hill surmounted by a town, 7 when Saul proposed to 
return home, but was deterred by the advice of the servant, 

1 Palgrave's Normandy. 6 The word is na'ar, * servant,' not 

2 See the Pedigree on p. 2. 'ebed, ' slave.' 

3 2 Sam. xxi. 14. ' 1 Sam. ix. 11-13. The situation of 
* See Lecture IV. the town is wrapt in the same geographi- 
s See Sinai and Palestine, ch. iv., cal obscurity that tracks the whole journey 

note 1. of Saul. See Lecture XVII I. 

tie*, xxi. EARLY LIFE OF SAUL. 5 

wno suggested that before doing so they should consult a 'man 
1 of God,' a ' seer,' as to the fate of the asses, securing his oracle 
by a present (bakhshish) of a quarter of a silver shekel. They 
were instructed by the maidens at the well outside the city to 
catch the seer as he came out on his way to a sacred eminence, 
where a sacrificial feast was waiting for his benediction. At 
the gate they met the seer for the first time. It was Samuel. 
A divine intimation had indicated to him the approach and the 
The call future destiny of the youthful Benjamite. Surprised 
of Saul. at hj s language, but still obeying his call, they as- 
cended to the high place, and in the inn or l caravanserai at the 
top found thirty or seventy 2 guests assembled, amongst whom 
they took the chief seats. In anticipation of some distinguished 
stranger, Samuel had bade the cook reserve a boiled shoulder, 
from which Saul, as the chief guest, was bidden to tear off the 
first morsel. 3 They then descended to the city, and a bed was 
prepared for Saul on the housetop. At daybreak Samuel roused 
him. They descended again to the skirts of the town, and there 
(the servant having left them) Samuel poured over Saul's head 
the consecrated oil, and with a kiss of salutation announced to 
him that he was to be the ruler and deliverer of the nation. 4 
From that moment, a fresh life dawned upon him. Under the 
outward garb of his domestic vocation, the new destiny had 
been thrust upon him. The trivial forms of an antiquated phase 
of religion had been the means of introducing him to the Pro- 
phet of the Future. Each stage of his returning, as of his out- 
going route, is marked with the utmost exactness, and at each 
stage he meets the incidents which, according to Samuel's pre- 
diction, were to mark his coming fortunes. 5 By the sepulchre 
of his mighty ancestress — known then, and known still, as 
Rachel's Tomb — he met two men, 6 who announced to him the 
recovery of the asses. There his lower cares were to cease. 
By a venerable oak — distinguished by the name not elsewhere 
given, the ' oak 7 of Tabor ' — he met three men carrying gifts 
of kids and bread, and a skin of wine, as an offering to BetheL 

1 to KaTdAu/xa, LXX., ix. 22. ' 1 Sam. x. 2-6, 9, 10. 

1 LXX. ; and Joseph. Ant. yj. 4, § 1. " At Zelzah, or (LXX.) ' leaping for 

• LXX. ix. 22-24. 'j°y-' 

* LXX. ibid. 25-x. 1. ' Mistranslated in A.V. 'plain.' 

6 EARLY LIFE OF SAUL. Lac*, xxi. 

There, as if to indicate his new dignity, two of the loaves were 
offered to him. By ' the hill of God ' (whatever may be the 
precise spot indicated — seemingly close to his own home), he 
met a ' chain ' of prophets descending with musical instruments. 
There he caught the inspiration from them, as the sign of a 
grander, loftier life, than he had ever before conceived. 1 

This is what may be called the private, inner view of his 
call. There was yet another outer call, which is related inde- 
pendently. An assembly was convened by Samuel at Mizpeh, 
and lots (so often practised at that time) were cast to find the 
tribe and the family which was to produce the king. Saul was 
named, and found hid in the circle of baggage which surrounded 
the encampment. 2 His stature at once conciliated the public 
feeling, and for the first time the shout was raised, afterwards 
so often repeated down to modern times, ' Long live the King ! ' 3 
The Monarchy, with that conflict of tendencies, of* which the 
mind of Samuel is the best reflex, 4 was established in the person 
of the young Prophet, whom he had thus called to this perilous 

Up to this point Saul had been only the shy and retiring 
youth of the family. He is employed in the common work of 
the farm. His father, when he delays his return, mourns for 
him, as having lost his way. 5 He hangs on the servant for 
directions as to what he shall do, which he would not have 
known himself. 6 At every step of Samuel's revelations he is 
taken by surprise. ' Am I not a Benjamite ? of the smallest of 
1 the tribes of Israel ? and my family the least of all the families 
1 of the tribe of Benjamin ? wherefore then speakest thou so to 
' me ? ' 7 He turns his huge shoulder 8 on Samuel, apparently 
still unconscious of what awaits him. The last thing which 
those that knew him in former days can expect, is that Saul 
should be among the Prophets. 9 Long afterwards the memorial 
of this unaptness for high aspirations remained enshrined in the 
national proverbs. Even after the change had come upon him 

1 See Ewald, iii. 31. " Ibid. ix. 7-10. 

2 1 Sam. x. 17-22. T Ibid. 21. 

3 Ibid. 20, 24 (Heb.). ' Ibid. x. 9 ; A.V. ' back.' 
* See Lecture XVIII. ■ Ibid. x. 11, 12. 

6 1 Sam. ix. 5 ; x. 2. 

lbct. xxi. EARLY LIFE OF SAUL. J 

he still shrank from the destiny which was opening before him. 
4 Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto thee. And Saul 
* said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were 
4 found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel 
1 spake, he told him not.' * On the day of his election, he was 
nowhere to be found, and he was as though he were deaf. 2 
Some there were, who even after his appointment still said, 
1 How shall this man save us ? ' * and they brought him no 
1 presents.' 3 And he shrank back into private life, and was 
in his fields, and with his yoke of oxen. 4 

But there was one distinction which marked out Saul for 
his future office. ' The desire of all Israel ' was already, un- 
consciously, 'on him and on his father's house. ' 5 He 

The appear- ... " ... . . . . . ... 

ance of had the one gift by which in that primitive time a 
man seemed to be worthy of rule. He was ' goodly ; ' 
there was not among the children of Israel a ' goodlier person 
4 than he,' 6 'from his shoulders and upward, he towered above 
4 all the people.' When he stood among the people, Samuel 
could say of him, * See ye him, look at him whom the Lord hath 
4 chosen, that there is none like him among all the people.' 7 
It is as in the days of the Judges, as in the Homeric days of 
Greece. Agamemnon, like Saul, is head and shoulders taller 
than the people. 8 Like Saul, too, he has that peculiar air and 
dignity expressed by the Hebrew word which we translate 
4 good' or 'goodly.' This is the ground of the epithet which 
became fixed as part of his name — 'Saul the chosen,' ' the chosen 
'of the Lord.' 9 

In the Mussulman traditions this is the only trait of Saul 
which is preserved. His name has there been almost lost, he 
is known only as Thalut, ' the tall one.' 10 In the Hebrew songs 
of his own time, he was known by a more endearing but not 
less expressive indication of the same grace. His stately, 
towering form, standing under the pomegranate tree, above the 
precipice of 11 Migron, or on the pointed crags of Michmash, or 

1 i Sam. x. 1 6. 7 Ibid. x. 24. 

2 Ibid. 21, 22 ; 27 (Heb.). • Compare the description and remarks 

* Ibid. 27. in Gladstone's Homer, vol. iii. 404. 
4 Ibid. xi. 5, 7. 9 2 Sam. xxi. 6. 

* Ibid. ix. 20. '• D'Herbelbt, Thalaut ben Kitstu- 

* Ibid. ix. t. " 1 Sam. xiv. 2. 


the rocks of En-gedi, claimed for him the title of the 'wild roe, 
'the gazelle,' perched aloft, 'the pride and glory of Israel.' 1 
Against the giant Philistines a giant king was needed. The 
time for the little stripling of the house of Jesse was close at 
hand, but was not yet come. Saul and Jonathan, ' swifter than 
'eagles and stronger than lions,' 2 still seemed the fittest 
champions of Israel. ' When Saul saw any strong man or any 
' valiant man he took him unto him.' 3 He, in his gigantic 
panoply, that would fit none but himself, 4 with the spear that 
he had in his hand, of the same form and fashion as the spear 
of Goliath, was a host in himself. 

And when we look at the state of Israel at the time, we find 
that we are still in the condition which would most justify such 
a choice. His residence, like that of the ancient Judges, is still 
at the seat of the family. That beacon-like cone, conspicuous 
amongst the uplands of Benjamin, then and still known by the 
name of ' the Hill ' (gibeah), had been selected apparently by 
his ancestor 5 Jehiel, for the foundation of one of the chief cities 
in Benjamin. There Saul had ' his house,' and his name super- 
seded the more ancient title of the city as derived from the 
tribe. 6 And there, king as he was, we might fancy ourselves 
still in the days of Shamgar or of Gideon, when we see him 
following his herd of oxen in the field, and driving them home 
at the close of day up the steep ascent of the city. 

It was on one of these evening returns that his career re- 
ceived the next sharp stimulus which drove him on to his 
R f destined work. A loud wail, such as goes up in an 
jabesh- Eastern city at the tidings of some great calamity, 
strikes his ear. He said, 'What aileth the people 
' that they weep ? ' They told him the news that had reached 
them from their kinsmen beyond the Jordan. The work which 
Jephthah 7 had wrought in that wild region had to be done 

1 2 Sam. i. 19, the word translated 8 When Abiel, or Jehiel (1 Chr. viii. 

'beauty,' but the same term (tsebt) in 29, be. 35), is called the 'father of Gibeon,' 

2 Sam. ii. 18, and elsewhere, is translated it probably means founder of Gibeah. 
' r^e.' * Formerly ' Gibeah of Benjamin,' 

3 2 Sam. i. 23. henceforth ' Gibeah of Saul,' down to the 

3 1 Sam. xiv. 52. time of Josephus (B. J. v. 2, § 1). 

* Ibid. xvii. 39. ■ See Lecture XVI. 


over again. Ammon was advancing, and the first victims 
were the inhabitants of Jabesh, connected by the romantic 
adventure of the previous generation with the tribe ' of Ben- 
jamin. This one spark of outraged family feeling was needed 
to awaken the dormant spirit of the sluggish giant. He was a 
true Benjamite from first to last. ' The spirit of God 2 came 
1 upon him,' as on Samson. His shy retiring nature vanished. 
His anger flamed out, and he took two oxen from the herd that 
he was driving, and (here again, in accordance with the like 
expedient in that earlier time, only in a somewhat gentler form) 
he hewed them in pieces and sent their bones through the 
country with the significant warning, ' Whosoever cometh not 
* after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen.' 
An awe fell upon the people : they rose as one man. In one 
The first day they crossed the Jordan. Jabesh was rescued. 
victory. j t was tne deliverance of his own tribe which thus at 
once seated him on the throne securely. The East of the 
Jordan was regarded as specially the conquest of Saul. The 
people of Jabesh never forgot their debt of gratitude. The 
house of Saul were safe there when their cause was ruined 
everywhere else. 

This was his first great victory. The monarchy was in- 
augurated afresh. 3 But he still so far resembles the earlier 
Judges as to be virtually king only within his own tribe. 
Almost all his exploits are confined to this immediate neigh- 
bourhood. In that neighbourhood the Philistines are still in 
the ascendant, as in the days of Samson and Eli. Sanctuaries 
of Dagon are found, far away from the sea-coast, up to the very 
The Phiiis- verge of the Jordan valley. 4 It had become a Philis- 
tine war. t j ne country, almost as much as Spain had in the 
ninth century become a Mussulman country. As there, the 
Arabic names and Arabic architecture reveal the existence of 
the intruding race, up to the very frontier of Biscay and the 
Asturias, so in the very heart of Palestine, we stumble on the 
traces of the Philistine. At Gibeah or at Ramah, close by one 

1 Judg. xx. See Lecture XIII. is described as preceding th« election of 

3 The same word in i Sam. x. 10, xi. Saul. 

6, and in Judg. xiv. 6, 19 ; xv. 14. 4 See the map, Palestine after the 

* 1 Sam. xi. 1-15. But in xii. 12, this Conquest. 


of the Prophetic schools, is a garrison or exacting officer of the 
Philistines. At Michmash is another ; at Geba is another. At 
any harvest, an incursion of the Philistines, 1 with their animals 
to carry off the ripe corn, was a regular event, to be constantly 
expected. The people are depressed to the same point as 
before the time of Deborah, when ' there was not a shield or 
' spear seen among forty thousand in Israel.' ' There was no 
' smith found throughout all the land of Israel : for the Philis- 
{ tines said, Lest the Israelites make themselves swords and 
' spears. But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, 
1 to sharpen everyone his share, and his coulter, and his ax, 
1 and his mattock.' 2 Saul and Jonathan alone had arms. The 
complete panoply 3 of the Philistine giant was a marvel to the 
unarmed Israelites. 

As in the days of the Midianite invasion, the Israelites 
vanished from before their enemies into the caves and pits in 
which the limestone rocks abound. 4 ' Behold the Hebrews 
1 come out of the holes where they have hid themselves,' is 
the exclamation of the Philistines, as they saw any adventurous 
warriors creeping out of their lurking places. 5 The whole 
nation was pushed eastward. The monarchy was like a wind- 
driven tree. The sharp blast from Philistia blew it awry. The 
1 Hebrews ' (so they are usually 6 called by their Philistine 
conquerors) are said, as if in allusion to their repassing their 
ancient boundary, to have passed 7 over Jordan ' to the land of 
' Gad and Gilead.' The sanctuaries long frequented in the 
centre of the country, Bethel, and Mizpeh, and Shiloh, were 
deserted, and the king had to be inaugurated, and the thanks- 
givings after the victories had to be celebrated, in the first 
ground that had been won by Joshua in the very outskirts of 
Palestine — at Gilgal 8 in the valley of the Jordan. In the 
midst of such a renewal of the disturbed days of old, Saul was 
exactly what an ancient Judge would have been. As in each 
instance they were called up from the tribes especially in 

1 i Sam. xxiii. i. ' Ibid. iv. 6, g, xiii. 19, xiv. 11, xxix. 3. 

2 Ibid. xiii. 20 ; Judges v. 8. 7 Ibid. xiii. 3, 7. See Lecture I., p. 8. 

3 1 Sam. xvii. 4. • See 1 Sam. x. 8, xi. 14, xiii. 4, 7, xv. 4 
* Ibid. xiii. 6. See Lecture XV. (LXX.), 12. 

s Ibid. xiv. IX. 


danger— as Barak was raised up to defend the tribe of Naphtali, 
from Jabin, and Gideon to defend the tribe of Manasseh against 
Midian, so Saul of the tribe of Benjamin was the natural 
champion of his country, now that the heights of his own 
tribe — Gibeah, and Gebah, and Ramah — and the passes of his 
own tribe — Beth-horon and Michmash — were occupied by the 
hostile garrisons. We see him leaning on his gigantic spear, 
whether it be on the summit of the rock Rimmon, to which 
the remnant of his tribe had once fled before, or under the 
tamarisk of Ramah, 1 as Deborah had of old judged Israel 
under the palm tree in Bethel, or on the heights of Gibeah. 
There he stood with his small band, his faithful six hundred, 
and as he wept aloud 2 over the misfortunes of his country and 
of his tribe, another voice swelled the wild indignant lament — 
the voice of Jonathan his son. 

At this point we turn aside to the noble figure which hence- 
forth appears by the side of Saul. Like Saul, Jonathan belongs 

to the earlier age ; but is one of its finest specimens. 

He had, in a sudden act of youthful daring, as when 
Gideon's brothers had risen against the Midianites on Tabor, 
given the signal for a general revolt, by attacking and slaying 3 
the Philistine officer stationed close to the point where his own 
position was fixed. The invasion which followed was more 
crushing than ever ; and from this, as Jonathan had been the 
first to provoke it, so he was the first to deliver his people. He 
determined to undertake the whole risk himself. * The 4 day ' 
— the day fixed by him for his enterprise— approached. He 
had communicated it to none except the youth, whom, like all 
the chiefs of that time — Gideon, Saul, David, Joab— he retained 
as his armour-bearer. The Philistine garrison was entrenched 
above the precipitous pass of Michmash, that forms so marked 
a feature in the hills of Benjamin, between the two steep crags, 
whose sharpness has been long since worn away, but which then 
presented the appearance of two hu^e teeth 5 projecting from 
the jaws of the ravine. The words of Jonathan are few, but 

1 Sam. xxii. 6. * Ibid. xiv. (LXX.). 

3 Ibid, xiii. 16 (LXX. and Jos.). 6 Ibid. xiv. 4. (Hebrew) ; see Mich- 

• Ibid. 3, 4 (LXX. ; Ewald, Hi. 41). mash in Diet. 0/ Bible. 


they breathe the peculiar spirit of the ancient Israelite warrior, 
'Come and let us go over,' that is, cross the deep chasm, 'to 
' the garrison of the Philistines. It may be that Jehovah will 
' work for us : for there is no restraint for Jehovah to work by 
many or by few.' It was that undaunted faith which caused 
1 one to chase a thousand, and two to put ten thousand to * flight,' 
the true secret of the slightness of the losses, implied if not 
stated, in the accounts of the early wars of Israel against 
Canaan. The answer of the armour-bearer marks the close 
friendship between the two young men ; already similar to that 
which afterwards grew up between Jonathan and David. ' Do 
' all that is in thine heart : "look back at me," behold / am 
1 with thee ; 2 as thy heart is my heart.' Like Gideon, he de- 
termined to draw an omen from the conduct of the enemy, the 
more because he had no time to consult Priest or Prophet 
before his departure. If the garrison threatened to descend, 
he would remain below j if, on the other hand, they raised a 
challenge, he would accept it. It was the first dawn of day 3 
when the two warriors emerged from behind the rocks. Their 
appearance was taken by the Philistines as a furtive apparition 
of 'the Hebrews coming forth out of their holes' like wild 
creatures from a warren — and they were welcomed with a 
scoffing invitation, ' Come up, and we will shew you a thing.' 
Jonathan took them at their word. It was an enterprise that 
exactly suited his peculiar turn. He was 'swifter than an 
' eagle ' — he could as it were soar up into the eagles' nests. 
He was 'stronger than a 4 lion ; ' he could plant his claws in 
the crags, and force his way into the heart of the enemy's lair. 
His chief weapon was his bow. His whole tribe was a tribe of 
The battle arc h ers > 5 an d he was the chief archer 6 of them all 
of Mich- Accordingly he, with his armour-bearer behind him, 
climbed on his hands and feet up the face of the cliff, 
and when he came full in view of the enemy, they both dis- 
charged such a flight of arrows, stones, and pebbles from their 
bows, crossbows, and slings, that twenty men fell at the first 

1 Deut. xxxii. 30. ■ 1 Chr. xii. 2. 

2 1 Sam. xiv. 5 (Heb.). • 2 Sam. i. 22 ; 1 Sam. xviii. 4, xx. 

3 Josephus, Ant. vi. 6, § 2. 36, &c. 
* 2 Sam. i. 23. 


onset, and the garrison fled in a panic. 1 The panic spread to 
the camp, and the surrounding hordes of marauders. An 
earthquake blended with the terror of the moment. It was, as 
the sacred writer expresses it, a universal 'trembling,' a 'trem- 
' bling of God.' 2 The shaking of the earth, and the shaking of 
the enemies' host, and the shaking of the Israelite hearts with 
the thrill of victory, all leaped together. On all sides the Philis- 
tines felt themselves surrounded. The Israelites whom they 
had taken as slaves during the last three 3 days rose in mutiny 
in the camp. Those who lay hid in the caverns and deep clefts 
with which the neighbourhood abounds, sprang out of their sub- 
terraneous dwellings. From the distant height of Gibeah, Saul, 
who had watched the confusion in astonishment, descended 
headlong and joined in the pursuit. It was a battle that was 
remembered as reaching clean over the country, from the ex- 
treme eastern to the extreme western pass — down the rocky 
defile of Beth-horon, down into the valley of Aijalon. The 
victory was so decisive as to give its name, ' the war of Mich- 
1 mash,' 4 to the whole campaign. The Philistines were driven 
back not to reappear till the close of the reign. The memory 
of the event was long preserved in the altar, the first raised 
under the monarchy, on the spot where they had first halted. 

That altar is also a sign that we are still within the confines 
of the former generation. It was the last relic of the age of 
vows. Saul had invoked a solemn curse on any one who should 
eat before the evening. When Jonathan, after his desperate 
exertions, found himself in the forest, which, not yet cleared, 
ran up into the hills from the 5 plain of Sharon, he was over- 
come by the darkness 6 and dizziness of long fatigue. The father 
and the son had not met all that day. Jonathan was ignorant 
of his father's imprecation, and putting forth the staff which 
(with his sling and bow) had been his only weapon, tasted the 
honey which overflowed from the wild hives as they dashed 
through the forest. The people in general were restrained by 
fear of the Royal Curse ; but the moment that the day with its 

1 1 Sam. xiv. 13, 14 (LXX.). ■ Ibid. xiii. 22 (LXX.). 

a Ibid. 15 (Hebrew). h See Sinai and Palestine, chap, y 

3 Ibid. 21 (LXX.). ' 1 Sam. xiv. 27 (LXX). 


enforced fast was over they flew, like Mussulmans at sunset 
during the fast of Ramazan, upon the captured cattle, and de- 
voured them even to the brutal neglect of the law forbidding 
the eating of flesh which contained l blood. This violation of 
the sacred usage Saul endeavoured to control by erecting a large 
stone which served the purpose at once of a rude altar and a 
rude table. In the dead of night, after this wild revel was over, 
he proposed that the pursuit should be continued, and then, 
when the silence of the oracle of the High Priest disclosed to 
him that his vow had been broken, he at once, like Jephthah, 
Sacrifice of prepared himself for the dreadful sacrifice of his child. 
Jonathan. g ut there was now a freer and more understanding 
spirit in the nation at large. What was tolerated in the time of 
Jephthah, when every man did what was right in his own eyes, 
and when the obligation of such vows overrode all other con- 
siderations — was no longer tolerated now. The people inter- 
posed in Jonathan's behalf. They recognised the religious 
aspect of his great exploit. They rallied round him with a zeal 
that overbore even the royal vow, and rescued Jonathan, that 
he died not. 2 It was the dawn of a better day. It was the 
national spirit, now in advance of their chief — animated by the 
same Prophetic teaching, which through the voice of Samuel 
had now made itself felt — the conviction that there was a higher 
duty even than outward sacrifice or exact fulfilment of literal 

This leads us to the consideration of the other side of the 
character of Saul himself. He was, as we have seen, in outward 
form and in the special mission to which he was called, but as 
one of the class of the old heroic age, which was passing away. 
But he was something more than these had been. His call was 
after a different manner from that of the older Judges. He had 
shared in the Prophetic inspiration of the time. He had shared 
in an inward as well as an outward change. ' God,' we are 
told, 'gave him another heart,' and 'he became another man.' 
The three tokens which Samuel foretold to him well expressed 

1 Lev. xvii. 10, n ; Deut. xii. 23. self-devotion, after the manner of a Greek 

2 Josephus {Ant. vi. 6, § 5) puts into or Roman. Ewald supposes that a sub- 
Jonathan's mouth a speech of patriotic stitute was killed in his place, 

lbct. xxi. THE FIRST KING. 1 5 

the significance of the change, which, in modern language, 
would be called his 'conversion.' 1 He was the first of the 
The first l° n g succession of Jewish Kings. He was the first 
King. recorded instance of inauguration by that singular 

ceremonial, which, in imitation of the Hebrew rite, has de- 
scended to the coronation of our own sovereigns. The sacred 
oil 2 was used for his ordination, as for a Priest. He was the 
1 Lord's Anointed ' in a peculiar sense, that invested 3 his person 
with a special sanctity. And from him the name of ' the Anointed 
* One ' was handed on till it received in the latest days of the 
Jewish Church its very highest application— in Hebrew, or 
Aramaic, the Messiah ; in Greek, the Christ. Regal state 
gradually gathered round him. Ahijah, the surviving repre- 
sentative of the doomed house of Ithamar, was always at hand, 
in the dress of the sacred Ephod, to answer his questions. 
The Ephod was the substitute for the exiled Ark. 4 A new 
sanctuary arose not far from Gibeah, at Nob, on the northern 
shoulder of Olivet, where the Tabernacle was again set up, — 
where the shewbread was still kept, and where the trophies of 
the Philistine war were suspended within the sacred 5 tent. 
The beginnings of a ' host ' 6 are now first indicated. The 
office of ■ captain of the host ' is filled by his kinsman, 
the generous and princely Abner. 7 Now also is esta- 
blished the bodyguard, always round the King's 8 person, selected 
from his own 9 tribe, for their stature 10 and beauty, and at their 
head the second officer n of the kingdom, one who united with 
the arts of war the noblest gifts of peace, one whom we shall 
recognise elsewhere than in the court of Saul— David, the son 
of Jesse. And, closely bound with this high officer, is the heir 
of the throne, the great archer of the tribe of Benjamin, the 

1 See p. 5. translated ' band ' in i Sam. x. 26. Comp. 

* Comp. 1 Sam. x. 1 ; xvi. 13. xiii. 2. 

3 2 Sam. i. 14, 21 ; 1 Sam. xxiv. 6, 10 ; T 1 Sam. xiv. 50. 

xxvi. 9, 16. * ' The servants before his face,' 1 Sam. 

* Comp. 1 Chr. xiii. 3; 1 Sam. xiv. xvi. 15; ' Young men,' xvi. 17. 

18, where the LXX. by reading 'ephod' * 1 Sam. xxii. 7; Joseph. Ant. vii. 

for ' ark,' corrects an obvious mistake. 1, § 4. 

s i Sam. xxi. 9. ,0 1 Sam. xiv. 52 ; Joseph. Ant. vi. 6 ; 

* The ' host ' appears immediately after § 6. 

his accession, in the world (Jiachait) mis- " 1 Sam. xxii. 14. (Ewald, iii. 98.) 

l6 SAUL. LBCT. Xll. 

heroic Jonathan. These three sat l at the King's table. 
Another inferior officer appears incidentally : * the keeper of 
1 the royal 2 mules ' and chief of the 3 household slaves — the 
1 comes stabuli'—the. * constable ' of the King, such as appears 
in the later monarchy. 4 He is the first instance of a foreigner 
employed in a high function in Israel, being an Edomite or 
6 Syrian, of the name of Doeg— according to Jewish tradition 
6 the steward who accompanied Saul in his pursuit after the 
asses, who counselled him to send for David, and whose son 
ultimately slew him ; — according to the sacred narrative, a 
person of vast and sinister influence in his master's counsels. 

The King himself was distinguished by marks of royalty 
not before observed in the nation. His tall spear, already 
noticed, was always by his side, in repose, 7 at his meals, 8 when 
9 sleeping, when in battle. 10 He wore a diadem round his 
brazen helmet and a bracelet on his arm. 1 1 His victories soon 
fulfilled the hopes for which his office was created. Moab, 
Edom, Ammon, Amalek, and even the distant Zobah, 12 felt his 
power. The Israelite women met him on his return from his 
wars with songs of greeting ; and eagerly looked out for the 
scarlet robes and golden ornaments which he brought back as 
their prey. 13 

From these signs of hope and life in the house of Saul, we 
turn to the causes of its downfall. 

If Samuel is the great example of an ancient saint growing 
up from childhood to old age without a sudden conversion, 
„. . Saul is the first direct example of the mixed charac- 

His imper- r 

feet conver- ter often produced by such a conversion, a call com- 
ing in the midway of life to rouse the man to higher 
thoughts than the lost asses of his father's household, or than 
the tumults of war and victory. He became 'another man,' 

1 i Sam. xx. 25. xxii. 9 ; 2 Sam. i. 

' 1 Sam. xxi. 7 (LXX.) ; Joseph. Ant. 7 1 Sam. xviii. 10 ; xix. 9. 

i. 12, § 1, 4. 8 Ibid. xx. 23 ; in A.V. mistranslated 

3 1 Sam. xxii. 9. 'javelin,' and the article omitted. 

* 1 Chr. xxvii. 30. 9 1 Sam. xxvi. 11 , 
8 1 Sam. xxi. 7 ; xxii. 9. The Hebrew ,0 2 Sam. i. 6. 

here, as in other cases, has ' Edomite,' the " Ibid. i. 10 ; 1 Sam. xvii. 38. 

LXX. and Josephus ' Syrian.' 12 1 Sam. xiv. 47. 

• Jerome, Qu. Heb. on 1 Sam. xx;. 7 ; JS Ibid, xviii. 6 ; 2 Sam. i. 24. 

libct. xxi. HIS FALL. 1 7 

yet not entirely. He was, as is so often the case, half-con- 
verted, half-roused. His mind moved unequally and dispro- 
portionately in its new sphere. Backwards and forwards in the 
names of his children, we see alternately the signs of the old 
heathenish superstition, and of the new purified religion of 
Jehovah. Jonathan his first born is 'the gift of Jehovah ;' 
Melchi-shua is ' the help of Moloch ; ' his grandson Merib-baal 
is ' the soldier of Baal ; ' and his fourth son Ish-baal, ' the man 
1 of Baal ; ' and here again, 4 Baal ' is swept out, and appears 
only as ' Bosheth,' the 'shame or reproach,' — Mephi-bosheth, 
Ish-bosheth. 1 He caught the Prophetic inspiration not con- 
tinuously but only in fitful gusts. Passionately he would enter 
into it for the time, as he came within the range of his better 
associations, tear off his clothes, and lie stretched on the ground 
under its influence for a night and a day together. But then 
he would be again the slave of his common pursuits. His reli- 
gion was never blended with his moral nature. It broke out in 
wild, ungovernable acts of zeal and superstition, and then left 
him more a prey than ever to his own savage disposition. With 
the prospects and the position of a David, he remained to the 
end a Jephthah or a Samson, with this difference, that having 
outlived the age of Jephthah and of Samson, he could not be 
as they ; and the struggle, therefore, between what he was and 
what he might have been grew fiercer as years went on j and the 
knowledge of Samuel, and the companionship of David, became 
to him a curse instead of a blessing. 

Of all the checks on tne dangers incident to the growth of 

an Oriental monarchy in the Jewish nation, the most prominent 

was that which Providence supplied in the contem- 

tion to P the poraneous growth of the Prophetical office. But it 

Prophets. wag j ugt t ^- s f ar _ reacn i n g vision of the past and future 

which Saul was unable to understand. At the very outset of 
of his career, Samuel, the great representative of the Prophetical 
order, had warned him not to enter on his kingly duties till the 
Prophet should appear to inaugurate them, and to instruct him 
in them. It would seem to have been almost immediately after 
his first call, that the occasion arose. The war with the Philis- 

i Sam. xxxi. 2 ; 1 Chr. vii. 33. 

io Saul. lbct. xxi. 

tines was impending. He could not restrain the vehemence of 
his religious emotions. As King, he had the right to sacrifice. 
Without a sacrifice it seemed to him impossible to advance to 
battle. He sacrificed, and by that ritual zeal defied the warn- 
ing of the Prophetic monitor. It was the crisis of his trial. 1 
He had shown that he could not understand the distinction 
between moral and ceremonial duty, on which the greatness of 
his people depended. It was not because he sacrificed, but 
because he thought sacrifice greater than obedience, that the 
curse descended upon him. 

Again, in the sacred war against Amalek, there is no reason 
to suppose that Saul spared the king for any other reason than 
that for which he retained the spoil — namely, to make a more 
splendid show at the sacrificial thanksgiving. 2 Such was the 
Jewish tradition preserved by Josephus, 3 who expressly says 
that Agag was saved for his stature and beauty, and such is the 
general impression left by the description of the celebration of 
the victory. Saul rides to the Southern Carmel in a chariot, 4 
never mentioned elsewhere, and sets up a monument there, 
which, according to the Jewish tradition, 5 was a triumphal arch 
of olives, myrtles, and palms. The name given to God on the 
occasion is taken from this crowning triumph, the ' Victory of 
' Israel. 6 This second act of disobedience calls down the 
second curse, in the form of that Prophetic truth which stands 
out all the more impressively from the savage scene with which 
it is connected. ' Hath Jehovah as great delight in burnt 
'offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the word of the Lord? 
6 Behold, to obey is more than good sacrifice, to hearken than 
' the fat of rams.' 7 The struggle between Samuel and Saul in 
their final parting is indicated by the rent of Samuel's robe of 
state, as he tears himself away from Saul's grasp, 8 and by the 
long anguish of Samuel for the separation. ' Samuel mourned 
'for Saul.' 'How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?' 9 The 

1 i Sam. xiii. 8, compared with i Sam. * Jerome, Qu. Heb. ad loc. 

x. 8, with which it must be taken in close 6 i Sam. xv. 29 (Heb.) ; Vulg. ' tru 

connexion. See Thenius ad loc. and umphans ; ' and comp. 1 Chr. xxix. 11. 

Ewald. See Lecture XVIII. 7 1 Sam. xv. 22 (Hebrew). 

3 1 Sam. xv. 21. • For the gestura, see Joseph. Ant. vi 

* Ant. vi 7, § 2. 7, § 5. 

* I Sam. xv. 12 (LXX.). " 1 Sam. xv. 35 ; xvi. 1. 

jxct. xxi. HIS SUPERSTITION. 19 

terrible vengeance exacted on the fallen king by Samuel is the 
measure of Saul's delinquency. The mighty chief whose 
sword was so dreaded amongst the mothers * of Israel was now 
himself crouching 2 a*e cf ruck at the feet of the Prophet, who 
hewed him limb from limb — a victim (so the narrative seems 
to imply) more fitted for the justice of God than the helpless 
oxen and sheep, whose fat carcases and whose senseless bleating 
and lowing filled the Prophet's soul with such supreme disdain. 
The ferocious form of the offering of Agag belongs happily to 
an extinct dispensation. But its spirit reminds us of the 
famous saying of Peter the Great, when entreated in a mortal 
illness to secure the Divine mercy by the pardon of some cri- 
minals condemned to death : ' Carry out the sentence. Heaven 
'will be propitiated by this act of justice.' 3 To receive benefits 
from the society of those whom we condemn, and yet to ex- 
claim against the pollution of it, to set at nought obvious duties 
for the sake of the religious ascendency of our own peculiar views, 
is, as has been well said, the modern likeness of the piety of 
Saul when he spared the best of the oxen and the sheep to 
sacrifice to the Lord in Gilgal. 4 

What Saul did then, he was doing always. His religious 
zeal was always breaking out in wrong channels, on irregular 
occasions, in his own way. The Gibeonites he destroyed, 
probably as a remnant of the ancient Canaanites, heedless of 
the covenant which their ancestors had made with Joshua. 5 
His super- The wizards 6 and necromancers he cut off, unmind- 
stition. f u i } fin reminded by the Prophet, that his own wilful- 
ness was as the sin of witchcraft, and his own stubbornness as 
the sin of idolatry. The priesthood of Nob he swept away, 
perhaps in the mere rage of disappointment, or under the over- 
weening influence of Doeg, but also, it may be, as an instrument 
of Divine vengeance on the accursed house of Ithamar. 7 

1 i Sam. xv. 33. conceding the Roman Catholic Claims 

5 It is doubtful whether the word ren- (Miscell. Works, p. 76). 

dered 'delicately ' (1 Sam. xv.)in the A.V. s 2 Sam. xxi. 2. See Lecture XI. 

should be translated ' in joy ' or ' in terror.' s 1 Sam. xxviii. 9 (Ewald, iii. 67). 

See Thenius ad loc. The Vulgate gives ' ' Thou and all thy father 's house.' 

both pinguissimus and tremens. 1 Sam. xxii. 16. Josephus {Atit. vi 12, § 

3 Stahlin's Peter the Great, § 2. 7) rega;d> it as the climax of guilt, brought 

* Arnold, On the Christian Duty nf on by despotic power, 

C 2 


Out of these conflicting elements — out of a character un- 
equal to his high position— out of the zeal of a partial con- 
version degenerating into a fanciful and gloomy superstition, 
arose the first example of what has been called in after times 
His mad- religious madness. The unhingement of his mind, 
ness. which is perhaps first apparent in the wild vow or 

fixed idea which doomed his son to death, gradually becomes 
more and more evident. He is not wholly insane. The lucid 
intervals are long, the dark hours are few, but we trace step by 
step the gradual advance of the fatal malady. ' The Spirit of 
' the Lord departed from Saul ; and an evil spirit from the 
'Lord troubled him — terrified, choked l him.' It was an evil 
spirit ; and yet it seemed, — it is expressly called, — 'a spirit of 
' God ; ' and in the midst of his ravings, the old Prophetic 
inspiration of his better days 2 could return — 'he prophesied.' 

How touching is the entrance on the scene of the one man 
who could charm away the demon of madness, the one bright 
spirit in the gloomy court, the one who finds favour in his sight ; 
and yet the one who ministers, in spite of himself, to the way- 
wardness of the diseased mind, which he was called in to cure, 
himself the victim of the love which a distempered imagination 
turned into jealousy and hatred ! 

'And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil 
' spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our Lord now command 
Saul and ' tnv servants, which are before thee, to seek out a 
David. i man, who is a cunning player on the harp : and it 

' shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon 
' thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. 
' And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that 
' can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of 3 
' the young men and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse 
' the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty 
' valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in speech, and 
'a comely person, and the Lord is with him.' From this 

1 iirviyw, i Sam. xvi. 14. itviynovs Joseph. Ant. vi. 11, § 5.) 

avTw Kal rrrpnyyaAa? eni^epovra (Joseph. 3 According to the Jewish tradition this 

Ant. vi. 8, § 2). was Doeg, who did it with malicious fore- 

2 Compare also the double meaning of sight of the result (Jerome, Qucest. Heb. in 
'prophesying,' 1 Sam. xviii. 10, 11. (See loc.). 

lect. xxi. HIS MADNESS. . 21 

time forth the history of the two is indissolubly united. In 
his better moments Saul never lost the strong affection which 
he had contracted for David. He ' loved him greatly ; ' l 
* Saul would let him go no more home to his father's house.' * 
' Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat ? ' 3 They sit 
side by side, the likenesses of the old system passing away, 
of the new system coming into existence. Saul, the warlike 
chief, his great spear always by his side, reluctant, moody, 
melancholy, and David, the youthful minstrel, his harp in his 
hand, fresh from the schools where the spirit of the better 
times was fostered, pouring forth to soothe the troubled spirit 
of the King, the earliest of those strains which have soothed 
the troubled spirit of the whole world. Saul is refreshed and 
is well, and the evil spirit departs from him. And then, 
again, the paroxysm of rage and jealousy returns. Wherever 
he goes he is alternately cheered and maddened by the same 
rival figure. By David he is delivered from the giant Phi- 
listine, and by the songs of triumph over David's success he 
is turned against him. He dismisses him from his court, he 
throws him into dangers ; but David's disgrace and danger 
increase his popularity. He makes the marriage with his 
daughter a trap for David, and commands his son to kill him ; 
and his design ends in Michal's passionate love, and in 
Jonathan's faithful friendship. He pursues him over the 
hills of Judah, and he finds that he has been unconsciously 
in his enemy's power and spared by his enemy's generosity ; 
and with that *ebb and flow of sentiment so natural, so true, 
so difficult to square with any precise theories of predestination 
or reprobation, yet so important as indications of a living human 
character — the old fatherly feeling towards David revives. ' Is 
' this thy voice, my son David ? And he lifted up his voice 
' and wept. I have sinned. Return, my son David : behold, 
1 I have played the fool, and erred exceedingly. Blessed be 
1 thou, my son David : thou shalt both do great things, and 
! also shalt still prevail. David went on his way and Saul 
'returned to his place.' 4 So they part on the hills of Judah. 

1 i Sam. xvi. ax. 3 Md. xx. 27. 

* Ibid, xviii. a. * Ibid. xxiv. 16 ; xxvi. 17-95. 

22 SAUL. t-Ecr. xxl 

One support was still left to the house of Saul. David we shall 
track elsewhere. The love of Jonathan for David we shall 
Saul and nave occasion to follow in David's history. But we 
Jonathan. ^ notj perhaps, sufficiently appreciate the devotion of 
Jonathan for his unfortunate father. From the time that he 
first appears he is Saul's constant companion. He is always 
present at the royal table. He holds the office afterwards 
known as that of ' the King's friend.' l The deep attachment 
of the father and the son is everywhere implied. Jonathan can 
only go on his dangerous expedition by concealing it from 
Saul. 2 Saul's vow is confirmed, and its tragic effect deepened 
by his feeling for Jonathan — ' though it be Jonathan my son.' 3 
Jonathan cannot bear to believe his father's enmity to David. 
' My father will do nothing, great or small, but that he will 
' show it me : and why should my father hide this thing from 
* me ? it is not 4 so.' To him, if to any one, the frenzy of the 
King was amenable. ' Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jona- 
than.' 5 Once only was there a decided break 6 — a disclosure, 
as it would seem, of some dark passage in the previous history 
of Ahinoam or of Rizpah, — 'Son of a perverse rebellious 
1 woman ! Shame on thy mother's nakedness ! ' 'In fierce 
1 anger ' 7 Jonathan left the royal presence. But now that the 
final parting was come, he took his lot with his father's de- 
cline, not with his friend's rise— and ' in death they were nofc 
' divided.' 

The darkness, indeed, gathered fast and deep over the fated 

The Philistines, so long kept at bay, once more broke into 

the Israelite territory. From the five cities they advanced far 

into the land. They had been driven from the hills 

The battle , ^ , , __ J . _, . . 

of Mount of Judah. They now summoned all their strength 
for a last struggle in the plain of Esdraelon, where 
their chariots 8 and horses could move freely. On the central 
branch of the plain, on the southern slope of the range called 
the Hill of Moreh, by the town of Shunem, they pitched their 

1 i Sam. xx. 25 ; 9 Sam. xv. 37. 5 Ibid. xix. 6. 

a 1 Sam. xiv. 1. e Ibid. xx. 30, 31. 

' Ibid. 39. « Ibid. 34. 

Ibid. xx. 2. * 2 Sam. i. 6. 

lbct. xxi. HIS LAST DAYS. 1$ 

camp. On the opposite side, on the rise of Mount Gilboa, was 
the Israelite army, keeping as usual to the heights which were 
their security. It was as nearly as possible where Gideon's camp 
had been pitched against the Midianites, hard by the spring, 1 
which from the ' fear and trembling ' of Gideon's companions, 
had been called the spring of Harod, or 'trembling.' We know 
not what may have been the feeling of the army at this second 
like conjuncture. But there was no Gideon to lead them. Saul 
(we are told, with a direct allusion to the incident which had 
given its name to the place), ' when he saw the camp of the 
1 Philistines, was afraid, and his heart trembled exceedingly' 2 
* The Spirit of the Lord,' which had roused him in his former 
years, had now departed from him. There was now no harp of the 
shepherd Psalmist to drive away the evil spirit ; and ' when he 
1 inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not ; ' no vision 
was vouchsafed to him in trance or dream, as before when he 
lay under the prophetic influence all night at Ramah ; no in- 
timation of the Divine will by the Urim and Thummim of the 
High Priest's breastplate, for the house of Ithamar had been 
exterminated by the sword of Doeg, and its sole survivor, 
Abiathar, was following the fortunes of his fugitive rival ; no 
consoling voice of the prophets of God, for Samuel, his ancient 
councillor, had long since parted from him, and had descended 
in mourning to his grave. He was left alone to himself ; and 
now the last spark of life — the religious zeal which he had 
followed even to excess — this also vanished ; or rather, as must 
always be the case when it has thus swerved from the moral 
principle which alone can guide it, was turned into a wild and 
desperate superstition. The wizards and familiar spirits, whom 
in a fit perhaps of righteous indignation he had put out of the 
land, now become his only resource. 

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. 

On the other side of the ridge, on which the Philistines 
The witch were encamped, was Endor, ■ the spring of Dor,' 
of Endor. ma rked in Hebrew poetry as the scene of the slaughter 
of the fugitive host of Sisera. 3 On that rocky mountain-side 

1 i Sam. xxix. i ; Judg. vii. i, 3. a 1 Sam. xxv'ii -. 

3 Ps. See Lecture XIV. 

24 SAUL. lbct. xxi. 

dwelt a solitary woman — according to Jewish l tradition, the 
mother of Abner — who had escaped the King's persecution. 
To her, as to one who still held converse with the other world, 
came by dead of night three unknown guests, of whom the 
chief called upon her to wake the dead Samuel from the 
world of shades, which at that time formed the utmost limit of 
the Hebrew conceptions of the state beyond the grave. They 
were Saul, and, according to Jewish tradition, Abner an<f 
Amasa. 2 The sacred narrative does not pretend to give us thfc 
distinct details of the scene. 3 But we hear the shriek of double 
surprise, with which, 'when the woman saw Samuel, she cried 
* with a loud voice ; ' we see with her the venerable figure, ris- 
ing from the earth like a God, 4 his head veiled in his regal 5 or 
sacred mantle, with the threatening and disquieted countenance 
which could only be, as she surmised, assumed against his 
ancient enemy. How different from that joyous meeting at 
the feast of Ramah, when the Prophet told him that on him 
was all the desire of Israel, on him and on his father's house ! 
How different from that ' chosen ' and ' goodly ' youth, to whom 
'there was none like among the people,' was the unhappy 
King, who, when he heard the Prophet's judgment, fell and 
lay ' the whole length 6 of his gigantic stature upon the earth, 
and was sore afraid, and there was no strength left in him ' ! 
It was on the following day that the Philistines charged the 

1 Jerome, Qu. Neb. ad loc. Was the * The witch is called in the Hebrew a 

scene that follows intended to describe an woman of ' Ob,' i.e. of a skin or bladder, 

imposture or a real apparition of Samuel ? or murmuring voice, which the LXX. have 

Eustathius and most of the Fathers take rendered iyyao-rpiixvOos (ventriloquist), and 

the former view ; Origen, the latter view. the Vulgate Pythoness. It is a curious 

Augustine wavers. (See Leo Allatius, De instance of the dangers of relying on the 

Engastrimytho, in Critici Sacri, vol. ii.) translation, even of the most highly autho- 

The LXX. of i Sam. xxviii 7 (tyyaurpi- rised version, that Voltaire (Phil. 0/ Hist. 

fivOos) and the A.V. (by its omission of 35) argues from the expression Pythoness 

'himself in xxviii. 14, and insertion of the Grecian origin of the whole story, 
'when' in xxviii. 12) lean to the former; * 1 Sam. xxviii. 13 (Hebrew). See 

Josephus (who pronounces a glowing Lecture XVIII., pp. 352, 362. 
eulogy on the woman, Ant. vi. 14, § 2, 3), s ieparLtcifp SmAoiSa, Joseph. Ant. vi. 

and the LXX. of 1 Chr. x. 13 to the latter. 14, § 2. See Lecture XVIIL, ibid. 
At this distance of time it is impossible to 6 1 Sam. xxviii. 20. So (as in 1 Sam. 

determine the exact intention of the narra- xvi. 7, the height of his stature) should be 

tive, though its obvious meaning tends to translated the words which are rendered — 

the hypothesis of some kind of apparition. ' all along.' As in Homer, /uu'yas /a«ya* 

3 Mever, notes to the Seder Olam, p. Awori. 

urcT. xxi. HIS DEATH. 2$ 

Israelite army, and drove them up the heights of Gilboa. On 
1 the high places of Gilboa,' on their own familiar and friendly 
high places, 'the pride of Israel was slain.' 1 On the green 
strip which breaks the slope of the mountain upland as it rises 
from the fertile plain, the final encounter took place. Filled as 
it seemed to be with the pledge of future harvests and offer- 
ings, henceforth a curse might well be called to rest upon it, 
and the barrenness of the bald mountain, without dew or rain, 
to spread itself over the fertile soil. 

The details of the battle are but seen in broken snatches, 

as in the short scenes of a battle acted on the stage, or beheld 

at remote glimpses by an accidental spectator. But 

The battle. . , , , J r r , ™ ... • 

amidst the shower of arrows from the Philistine 
archers — or pressed hard even on the mountain side by their 
charioteers 2 — the figure of the King emerges from the dark- 
ness. His three sons 3 have fallen before him. His armour- 
bearer lies dead beside him. But on his own head is the royal 
crown — on his arm the royal bracelet. The shield or light 
buckler which he always wore has been cast away in his flight, 4 
stained with blood, begrimed with filth ; the polish of the con- 
secrated oil was gone — it was a defiled polluted thing. 5 The 
huge spear is still in his hand. He is leaning heavily upon it ; 
he has received his death wound either from the enemy, 6 or 
from his own sword ; the dizziness and darkness of death 7 is 
/ upon him. At that moment a wild Amalekite, 8 lured 

probably to the field by the hope of spoil, came up 
and finished the work which the arrows of the Philistines and 
the sword of Saul himself had all but accomplished. 

The Philistines when the next day dawned found the 
corpses of the father and of his three sons. The tidings were 
told in the capital of Gath, and proclaimed through the streets 
of Ashkelon ; the daughters of the Philistines, the daughters 
of the accursed race of the uncircumcised, rejoiced as they 
welcomed back their victorious kinsmen. It was the great 

1 2 Sam. i. • i Sam. xxxi. 3, 4 (LXX.) The ac- 

a 1 Sam. xxxi. 3 ; 2 Sam. i. 6. counts vary. 

* Ibid. 2. 7 2 Sam. i. 9 (LXX.). 

* 2 Sam. i. 21. 8 A son of Doeg (Jerome, Qwest. Heb. 
s 2 Sam. i. in loc). 

26 THE HOUSE OF SAUL. lkct. xxi. 

retribution for the fall of their champion of Gath. As the 
Israelites had then carried off his head and his sword as tro- 
phies to their sanctuary, so the head of Saul was cut off and 
fastened in the temple of Dagon at Ashdod, 1 and his arms — 
the spear on which he had so often rested — the sword and the 
famous bow of Jonathan — were sent round in festive proces- 
sions to the Philistine cities, and finally deposited in the temple 
of Ashtaroth, in the Canaanitish city of Bethshan, hard by 
the fatal field. On the walls of the same city, overhanging the 
public place in front of the gates, were hung the stripped and 
dismembered corpses. 

In the general defection, the Trans-Jordanic territory re- 
mained faithful to the fallen house. One town especially, 
Jabesh-gilead, whether from its ancestral connexion with the 
tribe of Benjamin, or from its recollection of Saul's former 
services, immediately roused itself to show its devotion. The 
whole armed population rose, crossed the Jordan at dead of 
night, and carried off the bodies of the King and prince from 
Bethshan. There was a conspicuous tree — whether terebinth 
or 2 tamarisk— close beside the town. Underneath it the bones 
were buried with a strict funeral fast of seven days. 3 The 
court and camp of Saul rallied round the grave of their master 
beyond the Jordan, under the guidance of Abner, who set 
up the royal house at the ancient Eastern sanc- 
tuary at Mahanaim. Ishbosheth was the nominal 
head. 4 He succeeded not as in the direct descent, but ac- 
cording to the usual law of Oriental succession, as the eldest 
survivor of the house. Thither also came Rizpah, the Cana- 
anite concubine of Saul, with her two sons. 5 There also were 
the two princesses — Michal with her second husband, Merab 
with her five sons, and her husband Adriel, himself a dweller 
in those parts, the son, perhaps, of the great Barzillai. 6 Thi- 
ther was brought the only son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth. 
He was then but a child in his nurse's arms. She, on the first 
tidings of the fatal route of Gilboa, fled with the child on her 

1 i Chr. x. to ; i Sam. xxxi. o, 10. * 2 Sam. ii. 8. 

a The latter is stated in 1 Sam. xxxi. s /'id. iii. 7; xxi. 8. 

13, the former in 1 Chr. x. 12. ' Ibid. iii. 13 ; xxi. 8. 
1 1 Sun. xxxi. 13 ; 1 Chr. x. 12 


shoulder. She stumbled and fell, and the child carried the re- 
membrance of the disaster to his dying day in the lameness of 
both his feet. He too was conveyed beyond the Jordan, and 
brought up in the house of a powerful Gileadite chief, bearing 
the old Trans-Jordanic name of Machir. 1 

On the hills of Gilead, the dynasty thus again struck root, 
and Abner gradually regained for it all the north of Western 
Palestine. But this was only for a time. An unworthy sus- 
picion of Ishbosheth that his mighty kinsman, by attempting to 
win for himself the widowed Rizpah, was aspiring to the throne, 
drove that high-spirited chief into the court of David, where he 
fell by the hand of Joab. 

The slumbering vengeance of the Gibeonites for Saul's 
onslaught on them, completed the work of destruction. In 
Murder of tne guard of Ishbosheth, which, like that of Saul, 
ishbosheth. was d r awn from the royal tribe of Benjamin, were 
two representatives of the old Canaanite league of Gibeon. 
They were chiefs of the marauding 2 troops which went from 
time to time to attack the territory of Judah. They knew the 
habits of the court and King. In the stillness of an Eastern 
noon, they entered the palace as if to carry off the wheat which 
was piled up near the entrance. The female slave by the door 
who was sifting the wheat had, in the heat of the day, 3 fallen 
asleep at her task. They stole in and passed into the royal 
bed-chamber where Ishbosheth lay on his couch. They stabbed 
him in the stomach, cut off his head, made their escape all that 
afternoon, all that night, down the valley of the Jordan, and 
presented the head to David at Hebron as a welcome present. 
They met with a hard reception. The new King rebuked them 
sternly, their hands and feet were cut off, and their mutilated 
limbs hung up over the pool at Hebron. In the same place, 
in the sepulchre of Abner, the head of Ishbosheth was 

But the vengeance of the Gibeonites was not yet sated, nor 
the calamities of Saul's house finished. -It was in the course 

1 2 Sam. ix. 4. s 2 Sam. iv. 5-7 (LXX.) ; and Josephus 

* Comp. 2 Sam. iv. 2, iii. 22, where the {Ant. vii. 2, § 1). 
same word (gedftd) is used. 

28 THE HOUSE OF SAUL. lect. mi. 

cf David's reign that a three months' famine fell on the country. 
A question arose as to the latent national crime which could 
Crucifixion nave ca ^ ec * forth this visitation. This, according 
of the seven to the oracle, was Saul's massacre of the Gibeonites. 

sons of Saul. m , . . A , . , , 

I he crime consisted in the departure from the 
solemn duty of keeping faith with idolators and heretics. — ' No 
' orthodox man can be impartial towards heresy ' is a maxim 
not unknown even in modern days. But it is a maxim which 
even in those hard times David steadily repudiated. 1 This is 
the better side of this dark event. The Gibeonites saw that 
their day was come, and they would not be put off with any- 
thing short of their full measure of revenge. Seven of the 
descendants of Saul — the two sons of Rizpah, the five sons of 
Merab — were dragged from their retreat beyond the Jordan. 
Seven crosses were erected on the sacred hill of Gibeah or of 
Gibson, and on these the unfortunate victims were fastened. 
The sacrifice took place at the beginning of barley harvest — 
the sacred and festal time of the Passover — and remained there 
in the full blaze of the summer skies till the fall of the periodical 
rain in October. Underneath the corpses sate for the whole of 
that time the mother of two of them, Rizpah — the mater dolorosa 
(if one may use a striking 2 application of that sacred phrase) of 
the ancient dispensation. She had no tent to shelter her from 
the scorching sun, nor from the drenching dews, but she spread 
on the rocky floor her thick mourning garment of black sack- 
cloth, and crouched there from month to month to ward off 
the vultures that flew by day, and the jackals that prowled by 
night over the dreadful spot. At last the royal order came that 
the expiation was complete, and from the crosses — such is one 
version of the event — the bodies were taken down by a de- 
scendant of the gigantic aboriginal races. 3 It would seem as if 
this tragical scene had moved the whole compassion of the King 
and nation for the fallen dynasty. From the grave beneath the 
terebinth of Jabesh-gilead, the bones of Saul and Jonathan were 

1 Ps. xv. 4. See Lecture XT. It should be said that there remains the 

1 The verbal details of this account, in possibility that the bodies were hung up 

*trict conformity with the Hebrew text, are after death. Comp. 2 Sam. iv. 12. 

suggested by Mr. Grove's graphic article s 2 Sam. xxi. 11 (LXX.). 

on Rizpah in the Dictionary of the Bible. 

lbct. xxi. SYMPATHY FOR ITS FALL. 29 

at last brought back to their own ancestral burial-place at Zelah, 
on the edge of the tribe of Benjamin. 

It must have been at this same time that the search was 
made for any missing descendants of Jonathan. In the entire 
extinction of the family in Western Palestine it was with diffi- 
culty that this information could be obtained. It was given by 
Ziba, 1 a former slave of the royal house. And David said, 'Is 
' there any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show 
' him the kindness of God for Jonathan's sake ? ' One still re- 
Mephi- mained. Mephibosheth was beyond the Jordan, where 
bosheth. h e h ac i |3 een s i nce his early flight. He must have been 
still a youth, but was married and had an only son. He came, 
bearing with him the perpetual marks of the disastrous day of 
his escape. It would almost seem as if David had heard of 
him as S3 child from his beloved Jonathan. Feeble in body, 
broken in spirit, the exiled prince entered and fell on his face 
before the occupant of what might have been his father's throne ; 
and David said ' Mephibosheth.' And he said, ' Behold thy 
1 slave.' At David's table he was maintained, and through him 
and his son were probably preserved the traditions of the friend- 
ship of his father and his benefactor. His loyalty remained 
unshaken, though much contested both at the time and after- 
wards j and we part from him on the banks of the Jordan, where, 
with all the signs of Eastern grief, he met David on his return 
from the defeat of Absalom. 2 Two other descendants of the 
house of Saul appear in the court of David. A 3 son of Abner 
was allowed the first place in the tribe of Benjamin. A power- 
ful 4 chief of the family lived to a great old age on the borders 
of ^he tribe till the xeign of Solomon. It is just possible that in 
the attempt of the usurper Zimri, there is one last effort of the 
descendants of Jonathan to gain the throne of Israel. 5 

So closed the dynasty of Saul. It will have been observed, 
Sympathy now tender is the interest cherished towards it 
for its fail, throughout all these scattered notices in the sacred 
narrative — a striking proof of the contrast between our timid 

1 2 Sam. ix. 2. 2 See Lecture XXIV. 3 1 Chr. xxvii. 21. 

* 2 Sam. xvi. 5, Sic. : 1 Kings ii. 36, See. See Lecture XXVI. 
■ 1 Kings xvi. 9-20. Compare 1 Chr. ix. 42. See Lecture XXX. 

30 THE HOUSE OF SAUL. lbct. xxi. 

anxiety, and the fearless human sympathy of the Biblical 
writers. In later ages it has often been the custom to be wise 
and severe above that which is written, and in the desire of 
exalting David to darken l the character of Saul and his family. 
In this respect we have fallen behind the keener discrimination 
which appeared in his own countrymen. Even when Abner 
fell, and by his fall secured the throne to David, this generous 
feeling expresses itself alike in the narrative and in David him- 
self. ' They buried Abner in Hebron : and the king lifted up 

* his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner ; and all the people 

* wept, and the king lamented over Abner. " Died Abner as 
'"Nabal died?" and all the people wept again over him.' 
Such, too, is the spirit of the stern rebuke to the slayer of Saul, 
and to the murderers of Ishbosheth. Such is the deep pathos 
which runs through the dark story of Rizpah, the daughter of 
Aiah. Such, too, was the Jewish tradition which regarded the 
misfortunes of David's descendants as a judgment on the some- 
what unequal measure with which he requited the gratitude of 
Mephibosheth and the friendship of Jonathan ' At the same 
1 moment that David said to Mephibosheth, Thou and Ziba 
1 shall divide the land ; the voice of Divine Providence said 
1 Rehoboam and Jeroboam shall divide the kingdom :' 2 and 
even if the sacred writer believed in the treason of Mephibo- 
sheth, there is no word to tell us so ; his crime, if there were a 
crime, is left, shrouded under the shade which sympathy for 
the fallen dynasty has cast over it. 

This tender sentiment appears in the highest degree to- 
wards Saul himself. Josephus did not feel that he was failing 
in reverence to David, by breaking forth into enthusiastic ad- 
miration 3 of the patriotic devotion with which Saul rushed to 
meet his end. And still more remarkably is this feeling exem- 
plified in David's lamentation after the battle of Gilboa. Its 
instruction rises beyond the special occasion. 

Saul had fallen with all his sins upon his head, fallen in the 
bitterness of despair, and, as it might have seemed to mortal 

' Even S. Bernard thought that Saul 2 Quoted by Lightfoot, Sermon on 2 

and Jonathan were both lost for ever. See Sam. xix. 29. 
Morrison's / /'/,- of S, Bernard, p. 270. a Ant. vi. 14, § 4. 

lbct. xxi. SYMPATHY FOR ITS FALL. 3 1 

eye, under the shadow of the curse of God. But not only 
is there in David's lament no revengeful feeling at the death 
David's ia- of his persecutor, such as that in which even Chris- 
^uUnT ^ an samts nave indulged from the days of Lactantius 
Jonathan, down to the days of the Covenanters ; not only is 
there none of that bitter feeling which in more peaceful times 
so often turns the heart of a successor against his predecessor ; 
but he dwells with unmixed love on the brighter recollections 
of the departed. He speaks only of the Saul of earlier times, 
the mighty conqueror, the delight of his people, the father of 
his beloved and faithful friend ; like him in life, united with 
him in death. 

Such expressions, indeed, cannot be taken as deliberate 
judgments on the characters of Saul or of his family. But they 
may fairly be taken as justifying the irrepressible instinct of 
humanity which compels us to dwell on the best qualities of 
those who have just departed, and which has found its way 
into all funeral services of the Christian Church, of our own 
amongst the rest. They represent, and they have, by a fitting 
application, been themselves made to express the feelings with 
which, in all ages of Christendom, the remains of the illustrious 
dead, whether in peace or war, of characters however far 
removed from perfection, have been committed to the grave. 
It is not only a quotation, but an unconscious vindication of 
our own better feelings, when over the portal of the sepulchral 
chapel l of the most famous of mediaeval heroes, we find in- 
scribed the words of David : — ' How are the mighty fallen, and 
1 the weapons of war perished ! ' Quo??iodo ceciderunt robusti, et 
perierunt arma bellica ! It was not only an adaptation, but a 
repetition, of the original feeling of David, when we ourselves 
heard the dirge of Abner, sung over the grave of the hero of 
our own age : ' The king himself followed the bier, and the 
1 king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a 
1 prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel ? ' Fitly has 
this special portion of the sacred narrative been made the 
foundation of those solemn strains of funeral music, which 

1 Tomb of the Cid, near Burgos. 

32 THE HOUSE OF SAUL. lect. xxi. 

will for ever associate the Dead March of such celebrations 
with the name of Saul. 

And the probable mode of the preservation of David's elegy 
adds another stroke of pathos to the elegy itself. Jonathan 
was, as we have seen, distinguished as the mighty Archer of 
the Archer tribe. To introduce this favourite weapon of his 
friend into his own less apt tribe of Judah, was David's 
tribute to Jonathan's memory. 'He bade them teach the 
1 children of Judah the bow,' and whilst they were so taught, 
they sang (so we must infer from the context) 'the song of the 
' bow ' — 'the bow which never turned back from the slain.' By 
these young soldiers of Judah this song was handed on from 
generation to generation, till it landed safe at last in the Sacred 
books, to be enshrined for ever as the monument of the friend- 
ship of David and Jonathan. Let us listen to it as it was then 
repeated by the archers of the Israelite army. 

The wild roe, 1 O Israel, on thy high places is slain : 

How are the mighty fallen ! 
Tell ye it not m Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, 
Lest there be rejoicing for the daughters of the Philistines, 
Lest there be triumph for the daughters of the uncircumcised. 
Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you ! 

Nor fields of offerings ; 2 
For there was the shield of the mighty vilely cast away — 
The shield of Saul not anointed with oil. 3 

So David sang of the battle on Gilboa. Then came the 
lament over the two chiefs, as he knew them of old in their 
conflicts with their huge unwieldy foes : 

From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, 4 
The bow 5 of Jonathan turned not back, 
And the sword of Saul returned not empty. 

Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, 

And in their death they were not divided : 

Than eagles they were swifter, than lions more 6 strong. 

Then the stream of sorrow divides, and he speaks of each 

1 See p. 8. 3 See p. 25. 3 Ibid. 

4 See Lecture XVI. p. 322, and Lecture XXII. p. 46. 
■ See p. 1 a. * Ibid. 


separately. First, he turns to the Israelite maidens, who of 
old had welcomed the King back from his victories, and bids 
them mourn over the depth of their loss. 

Ye daughters of Israel weep for Saul, 
Who clothed you in scarlet, with delights, 
Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel : ' — 
How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle ! 

Then, as the climax of the whole, the national sorrow 
merges itself in the lament of the friend for his friend, of the 
heart pressed with grief for the death of more than a friend — a 
brother ; for the love that was almost miraculous, 2 like a special 
work of God. 

Jonathan, on thy high places thou wast slain ! 

1 am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan. 
Pleasant hast thou been to me exceedingly ! 
Wonderful was thy love to me, passing the love of women. 

How are the mighty fallen ! 

And perished the weapons of war ! 

In the greatness and the reverse of the house of Saul, is the 
culmination and catastrophe of the tribe of Benjamin. The 
Christian Fathers used to dwell on the old prediction which 
described the character of that tribe — ' Benjamin shall ravin as 
1 a wolf : in the morning he shall devour the prey, and in the 
* evening he shall divide the spoil.' 3 These words well sum up 
the strange union of fierceness and of gentleness, of sudden 
resolves for good and evil, which run, as hereditary qualities 
often do run, through the whole history of that frontier clan. 
Such were its wild adventures in the time of the Judges ; such 
was Saul the first king j such was Shimei, of the house of Saul, 
in his bitterness and his repentance ; such was the divided 
allegiance of the tribe of the rival houses of Judah and 
Ephraim ; such was the union of tenderness and vindictiveness 
in the characters of Mordecai and Esther, if not actual de- 
scendants of Shimei and Kish, as they appear in the history of 
Saul, at least claiming to be of the same tribe, and reckoning 

1 See p. 16. 2 This is the force of the word translated ' wonderful.' 

3 Gen. xlix. 27. 
II. D 

34 THE HOUSE OF SAUL. lect. xxi. 

amongst the list of their ancestors the same renowned 
names. 1 

And is it a mere fancy to trace with those same Christian 
writers the last faint likeness of this mixed history, when after 
a lapse of many centuries, the tribe once more for a moment 
rises to our view — in the second Saul, also of the tribe of 
Saul of Benjamin ? 2 — Saul of Tarsus, who, like the first, was 
Tarsus. at one t j me movec i by a zea \ no t according to know- 
ledge, with a fury bordering almost on frenzy 3 — and who, like 
the first, startled all his contemporaries by appearing among 
the Prophets, the herald of the faith which once he destroyed ; 
but, unlike the first, persevered in that faith to the end, the 
likeness in the Christian Church, not of what Saul was, but of 
what he might have been — the true David, restorer and en« 
larger of the true kingdom of God upon earth. 

1 Esth. ii. 5, viii. 6, j. * Philippians iii. 5. s Act* xxn. ib 






L The original contemporary authorities : — 

1. The Davidic portion of the Psalms, including such fragments 

as are preserved to us from other sources, viz. 2 Sam. i. 19-27, 

iii- 33. 34, xxii. I-5 1 , xxiii - I ~7- 1 

2. The ' Chronicles ' or 'State Papers ' of David (1 Chr. xxvii. 

24), and the original works of Samuel, Gad, and Nathan 
(1 Chr. xxix. 29). These are lost, but portions of them no 
doubt are preserved in — 
II. The narrative 2 of 1 Sam. xvi. to 1 Kings ii. 1 1 ; with the supple- 
mentary notices contained in 1 Chr. xi. 1 to xxix. 30. 

III. The two slight notices in the heathen historians, Nicolaus of Da- 

mascus in his Universal History (Josephus, Ant. vii. 5, § 2), and 
Eupolemus in his History of the Kings of Judah (Eusebius, Prcep. 
Ev. ix. 30). 

IV. David's apocryphal writings, contained in Fabricius, Codex Pseud- 

epigraphus Vet. Test. 905, 1000-1005 :— (1) Ps. cli., on his 
victory over Goliath. (2) Colloquies with God, (a) on madness, 
(b) on his temptation, and (c) on the building of the Temple. 
(3) A charm against fire. 
V. The Jewish traditions, which may be divided into three classes : — 

1. Those embodied by Josephus, Ant. vi. 8 to vii. 15. 

2. Those preserved in the Qutxstiones Hebraicce in Libros Regum 
et Paralipovtenon, attributed to Jerome. 

3. The Rabbinical traditions in the Seder Olam, chap, xiii., xiv., 
and in the comments thereon, collected by Meyer, 452-622 ; 
also those in Calmet's Dictionary, under ' David. ' 

VI. The Mussulman traditions, as contained in the Koran, ii. 250-252, 
xxi. 80, xxii. 15, xxxiv. 10, xxxviii. 16-24, and explained in 
Lane's Selections from the Kurdn, 226-242 ; or amplified in 
Weil's Biblical Legends, Eng. Tr. 152-170. 

1 The Davidic titles of the Psalms to be unquestionably David's, or of 

represent the Jewish tradition respecting David's time, are Psalms ii., iii., iv. vii., 

them ; they are affixed to Psalms iii.— ix., viii., xi., xv., xviii., xix., xx., xxiv., xxix., 

xi.— xxxii., xxxiv.— xli., Ii. — lxv. lxviii.— xxxii., ci., ex. 

lxx., lxxii., lxxxvi., ci. ciii., cviii. — ex., 3 Whether these are works by those 

exxii., exxiv., exxxi., exxxiii., exxxviii.— prophets, or respecting them, is doubtful, 

cxlv. Those which Ewald (in the See Mr. Twistleton's article on the Books 

Dichter des Alien Bundes) pronounces of Samuel in the Dictionary of the Bible. 




The Psalms which, according to their titles or their contents, illustrate this period 
are :— 
(1} For the shepherd life, Psalms viii., xix., xxiii., xxix., cli. 

(2) For the escape, Psalms vi., vii., lix., lvi., xxxiv. 

(3) For the wanderings, Psalms Hi., xl., liv., lvii. lxiii., cxlii., xviii. 

Of all the characters in the Jewish history, there is none so 
well known to us as David. As in the case of Cicero and of 
Julius Caesar — perhaps of no one else in ancient history before 
the Christian era — we have in his case the rare advantage of 
being able to compare a detailed historical narrative with the 
undoubtedly authentic writings of the person with whom the 
narrative is concerned. 

We have already seen the family circle of Saul. That of 
Family of David is known to us on a more extended scale, and 
David. w j tn a more direct bearing on his subsequent career. 

His father Jesse was probably, like his ancestor Boaz, the 

chief man of the place — the Sheikh of the village. ! He was of 

a great age when David was still young, 2 and was still 

Jesse. a j- ve a ^. er y g £ na j rU p ture w j t h g au j 3 Through this 

ancestry David inherited several marked peculiarities. There 
was a mixture of Canaanitish and Moabitish blood in the 
family, which may not have been without its use in keeping 
open a wider view in his mind and history than if he had been 

1 Comp. Ruth ii. 1 ; 1 Sam. xx. 6. * 1 Sam. xvii. 12. i Ibid. xxii. r>. 



I. At the Court of Saul. 


'David's wife,' i Sam. xix. n, xxv. 44, 2 Sam. iii. 14 

(said to be Eglah ; 

Jerome, Qu. Heb. on 

2 Sam. iii. 5). 

II. During the Wanderings. 

Ahinoam of Jezreel 
(1 Sam. xxv. 43). 

(' his firstborn '). 

Abigail of Carmel 

(xxv. 42). 


Chileab, or Daniel 

(1 Chr. iii. 1). 

(Jeheil, Jer. Q.H. on 

1 Chr. xxvn. 32). 

III. At Hebron (2 Sam. iii. 2-5; 1 Chr. iii. 1-4). 

Maacah of Geshui 




Absalom. Tamar. Adonijah. 

3 sons who Tamar = Uriel of Gibeah. 

died (2 Sam. | 

xiv. 27, Maacah = Rehoboam 

xviii. 18) or Michaiah 

(a Sam. xiv. 27, 
• Chr. xiii. 2). 


Shephaiiah. Ithream. 

Eglah, * David's wife.** 


IV. At Jerusalem (2 Sam. xv. 13-16; 1 Chr. iii. 5-8, xiv. 4-7) 

(1) Bathsheba 
or Bathshua 
(1 Chr. iii. 5). 



or Shimea 

(1 Chr. iii. 5). 


(2) ' More wives. 




Rehoboam = Maacah. 

flbhar. Elishu. Eliphelet 
(1 Chr. iii. 6). 

Nogah. Nepheg. Japhia. Elishama. 

Eliada, or 


Also daughters (1 Chr. xiv. 3, 2 Sam. v. 13). 
(3) Ten (?) concubines (2 Sam. v. 13 ; xv. 16). 



(2 Chr. xi. 18). 

Jerome Q. H. 

Mahalath = Rehoboam 




* The tradition on Eglah in Jerome {Qu. 
Heb. on iii. 5 and vi. 23) says that she was 
Michal ; and that she died in giving birth to 

t The LXX. (Cod. Vat.) in 2 Sam. v. 16, 
after having given substantially the same list 
as the present Hebrew text, repeats the list, with 
strange variations, as follows : Samae, Iessibath, 
Nathan, Galamaan, Iebaar, Theesus, Elphalat, 

Naged, Naphak, Ianatha, Leasamys, Baalimath, 
Eliphaath. Josephus {Ant. vii. 3, § 3) gives 
the following list, of which only three nan--«s are 
identical. He states that the two last wef tons 
of the concubines :— Amnus, Emnus, tjan, 
Nathan, Solomon, Ieban, Elien, Phaln? ^ 
naphen, Ienae, Eliphale ; and also his dav v»*r, 

38 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lbct. xxii. 

of purely Jewish descent. 1 His connexion with Moab through 
his great-grandmother Ruth he kept up when he escaped to 
Moab and entrusted his aged parents to the care of the 
king. 2 

He was also, to a degree unusual in the Jewish records, 
attached to his birthplace. He never forgot the flavour of the 
water of the well of Bethlehem. 3 From the territory 
of Bethlehem, as from his own patrimony, he gave a 
property as a reward to Chimham, son of Barzillai ; * and it is 
this connexion of David with Bethlehem that brought the place 
again in later times into universal fame, when ' Joseph went up 
' to Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of 
' David.' 5 Through his birthplace he acquired that hold over 
the tribe of Judah which assured his security amongst the hills 
of Judah during his flight from Saul, and during the early period 
of his reign at Hebron ; as afterwards at the time of Absalom 
it provoked the jealousy of the tribe at having lost their exclu- 
sive possession of him. The Mussulman traditions represent 
him as skilled in making hair-cloths and sack-cloths, which, 
according to the Targum, was the special occupation of Jesse, 
which Jesse may in turn have derived from his ancestor Hur, 
the first founder, as was believed, of the town — ' the father of 
' Bethlehem.' 6 

The origin and name of his mother are wrapt 7 in mystery. 
It would almost seem as if she had been the wife or concubine 8 
Mother of °f Nahash, and then married by Jesse. This would 
David. agree with the fact, that her daughters, David's sisters, 
were older than the rest of the family, and also (if Nahash was 

1 The admixture of Gentile blood is * The latter rabbis represent David 
probably the design of the express men- as born in adultery. This is probably 

tion of Rahab and Ruth in Matt. i. 5. a coarse inference from Ps. li. 5 ; but 

* 1 Sam. xxii. 3. it may possibly have reference to a 
3 1 Chr. xi. 17. tradition of the above. On the other 

* Sam. xix. 37, 38; Jer. xli. 17. hand, in the earlier rabbis we have an 
£ Luke it. 4. attempt to establish an ' immaculate con- 

* See Exod. xxxi. 2 ; 1 Chr. iv. 4 ; ' ception ' in the ancestry of their favourite 
and articles' on Bethlehem and Jaare- King. They make Nahash — ' the ser- 
OREGIM, in Diet, of Bible. 'pent'— to be another name of Jesse, 

* Zeruiah and Abigail, though called te:ause he had no sin except that con- 
in 1 Chr. ii. 16 sisters of David, are tracted from the original serpent ; and 
not expressly called the daughters of thus David inherited none. (Jerome, Qu. 
Jesse ; and Abigail, in. a Sam. xvii. 25, Heb. on 2 Sam. xvii. 25 and Targum to 
it called the daughter of Nahash. Ruth iv. 22.) 

user, xxii. HIS FAMILY. 39 

the same as the King of Ammon) with the kindnesses which 
David received first from Nahash, and then from Shobi his 
son. 1 

As the youngest of the family he may possibly have received 
from his parents the name, which first appears in him, of David? 

the beloved, the darling. But perhaps for this same 
brothers and reason, he was never intimate with his brothers. The 

eldest, whose command was regarded in the family as 
law, 3 and who was afterwards made by David head of the tribe 
of Judah, 4 treated him scornfully and imperiously ; and the 
father looked upon the youngest son as hardly one of the family 
at all, and as a mere attendant on the rest. 5 The familiarity 
which he lost with his brothers, he gained with his nephews. 
The three sons of his sister Zeruiah, and the one son of his 
sister Abigail, seemingly, from the fact that their mothers were 
the eldest of the whole family, must have been nearly of the 
same age as David himself, and they accordingly were to him 
throughout life in the relation usually occupied by brothers and 
cousins. The family burial-place of this second branch was at 
Bethlehem. 6 In most of them we see only the rougher quali- 
ties of the family, which David shared with them, whilst he was 
distinguished from them by qualities of his own, peculiar to 
himself. Two of them, the sons of his brother Shimeah, are 
celebrated for the gift of sagacity in which David excelled. 
One was Jonadab, the friend and adviser of his eldest son 
Amnon. 7 The other was Jonathan, 8 who afterwards became 
the counsellor of David himself. 

The first time that David appears in history at once admits 
us to the whole family circle. There was a practice once a 
year at Bethlehem, probably at the first new moon, of holding 
a sacrificial feast, 9 at which Jesse, as the chief proprietor of the 

1 2 Sam. x. i ; i Chr. xix. i ; 2 Sam. Canticles, and x Kings UL 14. The 

xvii. 27. Nahash in LXX. 2 Sam. same word in another form appears in 

xvii. 25, is brother of Zeruiah ; Nahash the Phoenician Dido. 
King of Ammon was grandfather of s 1 Sam. xvii. 28 ; xx. 29. 

Rehoboam's mother, Naamah (LXX. 1 4 1 Chr. xxvii. 18 (LXX.) 

Kings xii. 24, i.e. xiv. 31 Hebr.) • 1 Sam. xvi. n ; xvii. 17. 

* The name is given in its shorter * 2 Sam. ii. 32. 

Hebrew form in the earlier books of the ' Ibid. xiii. 3: 

Old Testament, in its longer form in the 8 Ibid. xxi. 21 ; 1 Chr. xxvii. Jft. 

later books, as also in Hcsea, Amos, * 1 Sam. xx. 6. 

40 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lect. xiit. 

place, would preside, with the elders of the town, and from 
which no member of the family ought to be absent. At this or 
such like feast, 1 suddenly appeared the great Prophet Samuel, 
driving a heifer before him, and having in his hand his long 
horn filled with the consecrated oil 2 preserved in the Taber- 
nacle at Nob. The elders of the little town were terrified at 
this apparition, but were reassured by» the august visitor, and 
invited by him to the ceremony of sacrificing the heifer. The 
heifer was killed. The party were waiting to begin the feast. 
Samuel stood with his horn to pour forth the oil, which seems 
to have been the usual mode of invitation to begin a feast. 3 He 
was restrained by a Divine control as son after son passed by. 
Eliab, the eldest, by his ' height ' and his 'countenance,' seemed 
the natural counterpart of Saul, whose successor the Prophet 
came to select. But the day was gone when kings were chosen 
because they were head and shoulders taller than the rest. 
'Samuel said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And 
' he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold he 
4 keepeth the sheep.' 

This is our first introduction to the future king. From the 
sheepfolds on the hill- side the boy was brought in. He took 
his place at the village feast, when, with a silent gesture, perhaps 
with a secret whisper 4 into his ear, Samuel poured the sacred 
oil over his head. We are enabled to fix his appearance at 
once in our minds. It is implied that he was of short stature, 
thus contrasting with his tall brother Eliab, with his rival Saul, 
and with his gigantic enemy of Gath. He had red 5 or auburn 
hair, such as is not unfrequently seen in his countrymen of the 
East at the present day. His bright eyes 6 are especially men- 
tioned, and generally he was remarkable for the grace of his 
figure and countenance ('fair of eyes/ 'comely,' 7 'goodly'), 

i Sam. xvi. 1-3. from this) say that he was like Esau. 

* ' The oil ; 1 Sam. xvi. 13, and so Josephus (Ant. vi. 8, § 1) makes it his 
Joseph, Ant. vi. 8, § 1. tawny complexion (£ar0b> ttji> xP° av )- 

' Comp. 1 Sam. ix. 13. 22. e 1 Sam. xvi. 12 (Heb.) : yopybs to? 

* Joseph. Ant. vi. 8, § 1. o^eis, 'fierce, quick' (Jos. Ant. vi. 8, 
■ 1 Sam. xvi. 12, xvii. 42. ' Ruddy § 1). 

-red-haired; nvppaicris, LXX ; rufus, 7 1 Sam. xvi. 18, same word as for 

Vulg.: the same word as for Esau, Rachel, Gen. xxix. 17. 
Gen. xxv. 25. The rabbis (probably 

lkct. xxn. HIS CALL. 4t 

well made, and of immense strength and agility. In swiftness 
and activity, like his nephew Asahel, he could only be compared 
to the wild gazelle with feet like harts' feet, with arms strong 
enough to break a bow of steel. 1 He was pursuing the occu- 
pation usually allotted in Eastern countries to the slaves, th^ 
females, or the despised of the family. 2 He carried a switch or 
wand 3 in his hand, such as would be used for his 4 dogs, and a 
scrip or wallet round his neck, to carry anything that was needed 
for his shepherd's life, and a sling to ward off beasts or birds of 

Such was the outer life of David, when he was ' taken from 
* the sheepfolds, from following the ewes great with young, to 
1 feed Israel according to the integrity of his heart, and to guide 
1 them by the skilfulness of his hands.' 5 The recollection of 
the sudden elevation from this humble station is deeply im- 
pressed on his after-life. It is one of those surprises which arc 
captivating even in common history, but on which the sacred 
writers dwell with peculiar zest, and which makes the sacred his- 
tory a focus of disturbing, even revolutionary, aspirations, in the 
midst of the commonplace tenor of ordinary life. 'The man 
1 who was raised up on high.' ' I have exalted one chosen out 
1 of the people.' ' I took thee from the sheepcote.' 6 It is the 
prelude of simple innocence which stands out in such marked 
contrast to the vast and chequered career which is to follow. 

Latest born of Jesse's race, 
Wonder lights thy bashful face, 
While the Prophet's gifted oil 
Seals thee for a path of toil . . . 

Go ! and 'mid thy flocks awhile, 
At thy doom of greatness smile ; 
Bold to bear God's heaviest load, 
Dimly guessing at the road — 
Rocky road, and scarce ascended, 
Though thy foot be angel-tended. 

1 Ps. xviii. 33, 34. iv. 12. 

' Comp. the cases of Moses, Jacob, * 1 Sam. xvii. 43. 

Zipporah, and Rachel, and in later times s Ps. xxviii. 71, 72. 

Mahomet (Sprenger, Life, p. 8). e 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 ; Ps. lxxxix. 19 ; 2 

3 1 Sam. xvii. 40. The same word as Sam vii. 8. 
J6 used in Gen. xxx. 37 ; Jer. i. 11 , Hos. 

42 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lbct. xxiu 

Double praise thou shalt attain 
In royal court and battle plain. 
Then comes heart -ache, care, distress, 
Blighted hope, and loneliness ; 
Wounds from friend and gifts from foe, 
Dizzied faith, and guilt, and woe ; 
Loftiest aims by earth denied, 
Gleams of wisdom, sin-beguiled, 
Sated power's tyrannic mood, 
Counsels shar'd with men of blood, 
Sad success, parental tears, 
And a dreary gift of years. 

Strange that guileless face and form 
To lavish on the scathing storm ! . . 
Little chary of thy fame, 
Dust unborn may praise or blame. 
But we mould thee for the root 
Of man's promised healing fruit. 1 

But abrupt as the change seemed, there were qualities and 
experiences nursed even in those pastoral cares that acted 
unconsciously as an education for David's future career. 

The scene of his pastoral life was doubtless that wide un- 
dulation of hill and vale round the village of Bethlehem, which 
His shep- reaches to the very edge of the desert of the Dead 
herd life. Sea# T h er e stood the < Tower of Shepherds.' 2 There 
dwelt the herdsman Prophet Amos. 3 There, in later cen- 
turies, shepherds were still ' watching over their flocks by 
< night.' 4 

Amidst those free open uplands his solitary wandering life 
had enabled him to cultivate the gift of song and music which 
His min- ne na cl apparently 5 learned in the schools of Samuel, 
streisy. where possibly the aged Prophet may have first seen 
him. And, accordingly, when the body-guard of Saul were 
discussing with their master where the best minstrel could be 
found to drive away his madness by music, one of them, by 
tradition the keeper of the royal mules, suggested ' a son of 
'Jesse the Bethlehemite.' And when Saul, with the absolute 

18; xix. 18-20. See 

Lyra Apottolica, lvii. 

4 Luke ii. 8. 

Gen. xxxv. 21, Edar, 

5 1 Sam. xvi. 

Amos i. x. 

Lecture XVIII. 

lbct. xxii. HIS MINSTRELSY. 43 

control inherent in the idea of an Oriental monarch, demanded 
his services, the youth came in all the simplicity of his shep- 
herd life, driving before him an ass laden with bread, with a 
skin of wine and a kid, the natural produce of the well-known 
vines, and corn-fields, and pastures, of Bethlehem. How far 
that shepherd life actually produced any of the existing Psalms 
may be questioned. But it can hardly be doubted that it sug- 
gested some of their most peculiar imagery. The twenty-third 
Psalm, the first direct expression of the religious idea of a 
shepherd, afterwards to take so deep a root in the heart of 
Christendom, can hardly be parted from this epoch. As after- 
wards in its well-known paraphrase by Addison l — who found 
in it throughout life the best expression of his own devotions — 
we seem to trace the poet's allusion to his own personal dan- 
gers and escapes in his Alpine and Italian journeys, so the 
imagery in which the Psalmist describes his dependence on the 
shepherd-like Providence of God must be derived from the 
remembrance of his own crook and staff, from some green 
oasis or running stream in the wild hills of Judaea, from some 
happy feast spread with flowing oil and festive wine beneath 
the rocks, at the mouth of some deep and gloomy ravine, like 
those which look down through the cliffs overhanging the 
Dead Sea. 2 And to this period, too, may best be referred the 
first burst of delight in natural beauty that sacred literature 
contains. Many a time the young shepherd must have had 
the leisure to gaze in wonder on the moonlit 3 and starlit sky, 
on the splendour of the rising sun 4 rushing like a bridegroom 
out of his canopy of clouds ; on the terrors of the storm, with 
its long rolling peals of thunder, 5 broken only by the dividing 
flashes of the forks of lightning, as of glowing coals of fire. 
Well may the Mussulman legends have represented him as 
understanding the language of birds, as being able to imitate 
the thunder of heaven, the roar of the lion, the notes of the 
nightingale. 6 

1 Macaulay's Essay on Addison, Edin. * Ps. xix. 1-5. 

Rev. lxxviii. pp. 203, 211, 259. * Ps. xxix. 3-9; xviii. 7-15 

* Ps. xxiii. 2, 4, 5. a Koran, xxi. 9; xxii. 16. Wcil'i 

' Ps. viii. 1, 3 (evidently by night), Legends, p. 151. 

44 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lect. xxit. 

With these peaceful pursuits, a harder and sterner training 
was combined. In those early days, when the forests of South- 
ern Palestine had not been cleared, it was the habit of the 
wild animals which usually frequented the heights of Lebanon 
or the thickets of the Jordan, to make incursions into the pas- 
tures of Judaea. From the Lebanon at times descended * the 
bears. From the Jordan 2 ascended the lion, at that time in- 
festing the whole of Western Asia. These creatures, though 
formidable to the flocks, could always be kept at bay by the 
determination of the shepherds. Sometimes pits were dug to 
catch them. 3 Sometimes shepherds of the whole neighbour- 
hood formed a line on the hills and joined in loud shouts to 
keep them off. 4 Occasionally a single shepherd would pursue 
the marauder, and tear away from the jaws of the lion morsels 
of the lost treasure — two legs or a piece of an ear. 5 Such 
feats as these were performed by the youthful David. It was 
his pride to pursue these savage beasts, and on one occasion 
he had a desperate encounter at once with a lion and a she- 
bear. The lion had carried off a lamb ; he pursued the in- 
vader, struck him with the boldness of 6 an Arab shepherd, with 
his staff or switch, and forced the lamb out of his jaws. The 
lion turned upon the boy, who struck him again, caught him 
by the mane or the 7 throat, or, according to another version, 
by the tail, 8 and succeeded in destroying him. The story grew 
as years rolled on, and it was described in the language of 
Eastern 9 poetry how he played with lions as with kids, and 
with bears as with lambs. 

These encounters developed that daring courage which 
already in these early years had displayed itself against the 
His martial enemies of his country. For such exploits as these 
exploits. ne waSj according to one version of his life, already 
known to Saul's guards ; and according to another, when he 
suddenly appeared in the camp, his elder brother immediately 

Amos v. 19 : 1 Sam. xvii 34, 'The ° See Thevenot. Voyage du Levant, 

'lion and the she-bear,' i.e. the usual ii. 13; quoted by Thenius on 1 Sam. 

enemies. Comp. 'the wolf,' John x. 12. xvii. 35. 

2 Jer. xlix. 19 ; Zech. xi. 3. 7 LXX. 1 Sam. xvii. 35 (tj]s 4>dpvy< 

5 2 Sam. xxiii. 20 ; Ezek. xix. 4, 8. yos). 

4 Is. xxxi 4. Comp. Herod, vi. 31. 8 Joseph. Ant. vi 9, § 3. 

* Amos im 12. • Ecclus. xlvii. 3. 




guessed that he had left the sheep in his ardour to see the 
battle. 1 The Philistine garrison 2 fixed in Bethlehem may 
have naturally fired the boy's warlike spirit, and his knowledge 
of the rocks and fastnesses of Judaea may have given him many 
an advantage over them. 3 

Through this aspect of his early youth, he is gradually 
thrust forward into eminence. The scene of the battle which 
the young shepherd ■ came to see ' was in a ravine in 
the frontier-hills of Judah, called probably from this 
or similar encounters Ephes-dammim, ' the bound of 
Saul's army is encamped on one side of the ravine, 
the Philistines on the other. A dry watercourse marked by a 
spreading Terebinth runs between them. A Philistine 4 of 
gigantic stature insults the whole Israelite army. He is clothed 
in the complete armour for which his nation was renowned, 
which is described piece by piece, as if to enhance its awful 
strength, in contrast with the defencelessness of the Israelites. 

The battle 
of Ephes- 

1 blood. 

1 i Sam. xvi. 18 ; xvii. 28. 

" 2 Sam. xxiii. 14. 

* There is no satisfactory method of 
reconciling the contradictory accounts, 
in 1 Sam. xvi. 14-23, and xvii. 12-31, 
55-58. The first states that David was 
made known to Saul and became his 
armour-bearer in consequence of the 
charm of his music in assuaging the 
king's melancholy. The second implies 
that David was still a shepherd with 
his father's flocks, and unknown to 
Saul. The Vatican MS. of the LXX., 
followed by Kennicott (who argues the 
question at length, Dissertation on He- 
brew Text, 418-432, 554-558), rejects 
the narrative in 1 Sam. xvii. 12-31, 
55-58, as spurious. But the internal 
evidence from its graphic touches is much 
in its favour, and it must at least be 
accepted as an ancient tradition of David's 
life. Horsley, but with no external 
authority, transposes 1 Sam xvi. 14-23. 
Another explanation supposes that Saul 
had forgotten him. But this only solves 
half the difficulty, and is evidently not the 
intention of the narrative. It must there- 
for* be accepted as an independent state- 
ment of David's first appearance, modified 
by the counter-statement already noticed. 
4 Variations in the common account 

are suggested by two other passages. 
(1) In 2 Sam. xxi. 19, it is stated that 
Goliath of Gath, the staff of whose 
' spear was like a weaver's beam,' was 
killed (not by David, but) by Elhanan 
of Bethlehem. (The A. V. has unwar- 
rantably added 'the brother of Goliath.') 
This, combined with the fact that the 
Philistine whom David slew is usually 
nameless, has suggested to Ewald (iii. 91, 
92), the ingenious conjecture that the 
name of Goliath (which is only given 
thrice to David's enemy, 1 Sam. xvii. 4, 
23, xxi. 9) was borrowed from the conflict 
of the real Goliath with Elhanan, whose 
Bethlehemite origin has led to the confu- 
sion. Jerome (Qu. Heb. ad loc.) makes 
Flhanan the same as David. But see 
Elhanan in the Diet, of the Bible. (2.) 
In 1 Chron. xi. 12, Eleazar (or more pro- 
bably Shammah, 2 Sam. xxiii. 11) is said 
to have fought with David at Ephes- 
dammim against the Philistines. It is of 
course possible that the same scene may 
have witnessed two encounters between 
Israel and the Philistines ; but it may also 
indicate that David's first acquaintance 
with Eleazar, afterwards one of his chief 
captains (2 Sam. xxiii. 9), was made on 
this memorable occasion. 

46 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. mct. xxii. 

no one can be found to take up the challenge. The King sits 
in his tent in moody despair. Jonathan, it seems, is absent. 
At this juncture David appears in the camp, sent by his father 
with ten loaves and ten slices of milk-cheese fresh from the 
sheepfolds, to his three eldest brothers, who were there to re- 
present their father, detained by his extreme age. Jut as he 
comes to the circle of waggons which formed, as in Arab set- 
tlements, a rude fortification round the Israelite camp, 1 he 
hears the well-known shout of the Israelite war-cry. 'The 
'shout of a king is among them.' 2 The martial spirit of the 
boy is stirred at the sound ; he leaves his provisions with the 
baggage-master, and darts to join his brothers (like one of the 
royal messengers 3 ) into the midst of the lines. 4 There he 
hears the challenge, now made for the fortieth time — sees the 
dismay of his countrymen — hears the reward proposed by the 
king — goes with the impetuosity of youth from soldier to 
soldier talking of the event, in spite of his brother's rebuke — he 
is introduced to Saul — he undertakes the combat. 

It is an encounter which brings together in one brief space 
the whole contrast of the Philistine and Israelite warfare. On 
the one hand is the huge giant, of that race or family, as it 
would seem, of giants which gave to Gath a kind 5 of grotesque 
renown ; such as in David's after days still engaged the prow- 
ess of his followers — monsters of strange appearance, with hands 
and feet of disproportionate development. He is full of savage 
insolence 6 and fury ; unable to understand how anyone could 
contend against his brute strength and impregnable panoply ; 
the very type of the stupid ' Philistine,' such as has in the 
language of modern Germany not unfitly identified the name 
with the opponents of light and freedom and growth. 7 On 

1 i Sam. xvii. 20 ; xxvi. 7, A. V. Gath— of eight brothers above six feet 
'trench.' high. (Finn's Byways, 181.) Williams's 

3 Comp. Num. xxiii. 21 ; Josh. vi. 5 ; Lecture at Dublin, 1868, p. 23. 

Judg. vii. 20. 6 According to the Chaldee Paraphrast, 

s 1 Sam. xvii. 22. The same word is he declares himself the conqueror and 

used as in xxii. 17. slayer of Hophni and Phineas. In 1 Sam. 

4 As in 1 Sam. iv. 16, 2 Sam. xviii. 22. xvii. 43 (LXX.), he says, 'Am / a dog 
s Josh. xi. 22 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 20, 22. ' that thou comest against me with staves 

Compare the speech of Harapha in Mil- 'and stones ?' To which David replies, 
ton's Samson Agonistes. There is still a ' No, but worse than a dog.' 
family at Beit Jibrin— the probable site of 7 Philistcrei. 


the other hand is the small agile yotith, full of spirit and faith ; 
refusing the cumbrous brazen helmet, the unwieldy sword and 
shield — so heavy that he could not walk with them — which the 
King had proffered ; confident in the new l name of the 'Lord 
'of Hosts'— the God of Battles — in his own shepherd's sling 
— and in the five pebbles which the watercourse of the valley 
had supplied as he ran through it on his way to the battle. 2 A 
single stone was enough. It penetrated the brazen helmet 
The giant fell on his face, and the Philistine army fled down 
the pass and were pursued even within the gates 3 of Ekron and 
Ascalon. The two trophies long remained of the battle — the 
head and the sword of the Philistine. Both were ultimately 
deposited at Jerusalem ; but meanwhile were hung up behind 
the ephod in the Tabernacle at Nob. 4 The Psalter is closed 5 
by a Psalm, preserved only in the Septuagint, which, though 
probably a mere adaptation from the history, well sums up this 
early period of his life : ' This is the psalm of David's own 
' writing, and outside the number, when he fought the single 
' combat with Goliath.* — ' I was small amongst my brethren, 
' and the youngest in my father's house. I was feeding my 
' father's sheep. My hands made a harp, and my fingers fitted 
' a psaltery. And who shall tell it to my Lord ? He is the 
c Lord, He heareth. He sent His messenger and took me 
1 from my father's flocks, and anointed me with oil of His 
' anointing. My brethren were beautiful and tall, but the 
• Lord was not well pleased with them. I went out to meet the 
' Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. But I drew his 
' own sword and beheaded him, and took away the reproach 
' from the children of Israel.' 

The victory over Goliath had been a turning-point of David's 
career. The Philistines henceforth regarded him as 'the king 6 
' of the land ' when they heard the triumphant songs of the 

1 See Lecture XXIII. description of the Tabernacle at Nob 

■ For the Mussulman legend, see close to Jerusalem, where the sword is 

Weil's Legends, p. 153. mentioned, 1 Sam xxi. 9. 

1 1 Sam. xvii. 52 (LXX.) ■ Ps. cli. (LXX.) Ps. cxliv., though 

* Ibid. 54. The mention of Jerusalem by its contents of a much later date, is 

may be either an anticipation of the ulti- by the title in the LXX. also ' against 

mate disposition of these relics in his ' Goliath ' 

Sacred Tent there, 2 Sam. vi. 17, or a * x Sam. xxi. 11, 

48 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lbct. xxii. 

Israelitish women, which announced by the vehemence of the 
antistrophic response 1 that in him Israel had now found a 
His rise in deliverer mightier even than Saul. And in those 
the court songs, and in the fame which David thus acquired, 
was laid the foundation of that unhappy jealousy of 
Saul towards him which, mingling with the king's constitutional 
malady, poisoned his whole future relations to David. 

It would seem that David was at first in the humble but 
confidential situation — the same in Israelite as in Grecian war- 
fare — of armour-bearer. 2 He then rose rapidly to the rank of 
captain over a thousand — the subdivision of a tribe 3 — and 
finally was raised to the high office of captain of the king's 
body-guard, 4 second only to Abner, the captain of the host, 
and Jonathan, the heir apparent. He lived in a separate 
house, probably on the town 5 wall, furnished, like most of the 
dwellings in Israel in those early times, with a figure 6 of a 
household genius, which gave to the place a kind of sanctity 
of its own. 

His high place is indicated also by the relation in which he 
stood to the other members of the royal house. Merab and 
Michal were successively designed for him. There is a mystery 
hanging over the name and fate of 7 Merab. But it seems that 
she was soon given away to one of the trans-Jordanic friends 
of the House of Saul. Michal herself became enamoured of 
the boyish champion, and with her, at the cost of an hundred 
Philistine lives, counted in the barbarous fashion of the age, 
David formed his first great marriage, and reached the very 
foot of the throne. 

More close, however, than the alliance with the royal house 
by marriage, was the passionate friendship conceived for him 

1 i Sam. xviii. 7 (Heb.). Of these and p. 13). 

of like songs, Bunsen (Bibelwerk, Pref. 3 Ibid, xviii. 13. 

cl.) interprets the expression in 2 Sam. * Ibid. xx. 25, xxii. 14, as explained by 

xxii. 1, not ' sweet singer of Israel,' but, Ewald, iii. 98. 

' the darling of the songs of Israel.' *See s 1 Sam. xix. n, 12. 

Fabricius, Cod. Psendep. V. T. 906. s Ibid. 13 ; comp. Judg. xvii. 5. 

2 1 Sam. xvi. 21, xviii. 2. For David's ' In the Vatican MS. of the LXX. her 
trophies (1 Sam. xviii. 25, 27), compare whole story (1 Sam. xviii. 17-19) is 
Mr. Plowden's description of the Abys- omitted ; and in the Hebrew text of 2 Sam. 
sinian triumphs {Statement presented to xxi. 8, the name- of her sister Micl a' 
the House of Commons., August 3, 1866, appears to have been substituted for hen,. 


by the Prince Jonathan j the first Biblical instance of such 
a dear companionship as was common in Greece, and has 
been since in Christendom imitated, but never sur- 
ship with passed, in modern works of fiction. ■ The soul of 
Jonathan. , j onat han was y. n ^ t w j th t ^ e sou i f David, and 

' Jonathan loved him as his own soul.' ! Each found in each the 
affection that he found not in his own family. No jealousy of 
future eminence ever interposed. ' Thou shalt be king in 
' Israel, and I shall be next to thee.' By the gift of his royal 
mantle, 2 his sword, his girdle, and his famous bow, the Prince 
on his very first interview confirmed the compact which was to 
bind them together as by a sacramental union. 

The successive snares laid by Saul to entrap him, and the 
open violence into which the king's madness twice broke out, 3 
at last convinced him that his life was no longer safe. Jona- 
than he never saw again except by stealth. Michal was given 
in marriage to another — Phaltiel, an inhabitant of the neigh- 
bouring village of Gallim, and he saw her no more till long after 
her father's death. 

The importance of the crisis is revealed by the amount of 
detail which clings to it. He was himself filled with grief and 
perplexity at the thought of the impending necessity of leaving 
the spot which had become his second home. His passionate 
tears at night, his remembrance of his encounters with the lion 
in the pastures of Bethlehem, his bitter sense of wrong 4 and 
ingratitude, apparently belong to this moment. The chief 
agent of Saul in the attack was one of his own tribe, 5 Cush ; 
to whom David had formerly rendered some service. A band 
of armed men encircled the whole town in which David's house 
stood ; yelling like savage Eastern dogs, and returning, even- 
ing after evening, to take 6 up their posts, to prevent his escape 
So it was conceived, at least, in later tradition. That escape 
he effected by climbing out of the house window, probably over 

1 Sam. xviii. i ; 2 Sam. i. 26. 5 Ps. vii. 1. 

' 1 Sam. xviii. 4. B Title of Ps. lix. and see verses 3, 6, 

' The first of these (1 Sam. xviii. 9-1 1) 14. There are expressions in this Psalm, 

is omitted in the Vatican MS. of the however (verses 5, 8, n), which look more 

LXX. and by Josephus (see Ant. vi. 10, Iik« allusions to the invasion of the 

§ 1). Scythians (see Ewald, Psalmen, 165). 

* Ps. vi. 6-8, vii. a, 4, 6 (Ewald/. 

II. E 

50 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lbct. xxii. 

the wall of the town. His flight was concealed for some time 
by a device similar to that under cover of which a great poten- 
tate of our own time escaped from prison. The statue of the 
household genius was put in the bed, with its head covered by 
a goat's-hair net ; l and by this the pursuers were kept at bay 
till David was in safety. He sang of the power of his Divine 
Protector. The bows and arrows of the Benjamite archers 
were to be met by a mightier Bow and by sharper Arrows than 
their own ; he sang aloud of His mercy in the morning ; for 
He had been his defence and his refuge in the day of his trouble. 2 

He fled to Naioth (or ' the pastures ') 3 of Ramah, to Samuel. 
This is the first recorded occasion of his meeting with Samuel 
since the original interview during his boyhood at Bethlehem. 
It might almost seem as if David had intended to devote him- 
self with his musical and poetical gifts to the prophetical office, 
and give up the cares and dangers of public life. But he had a 
higher destiny still. The consecrated haunts which even over 
the mind of Saul exercised a momentary influence, 4 were not 
to become the permanent refuge of the greatest soul of that 
stirring age. Although up to this time both the king and him- 
self had thought that a reunion was possible, it now appeared 
hat the madness of Saul became constantly more settled and 
ferocious; and David's danger proportionably greater. The 
tidings of it were conveyed to him in the secret interview with 
Jonathan, by the cairn of Ezel, 5 of which the recollection was 
probably handed down through Jonathan's descendants when 
they came to David's court. 

The interview brings out all the peculiarities of Jonathan's 
character — his little artifices, his love both for his father and 
his friend, his bitter disappointment at his father's ungovern- 
able fury, his familiar sport of archery, under cover of which 
the whole meeting takes place. The former compact between 
the two friends is resumed, extending even to their immediate 
posterity: Jonathan laying such emphasis on this portion of 

1 So Ewald (iii. 101). The LXX. takes * Ps. vii. 12, 13, 17 ; lix. 16. 

it to be a 'goat's liver,' which Josephus * See Lecture XVIII. 

(Ant. vi. n, § 4) represents as a device * 1 Sam. xix. 22-24. 

to give the motion of palpitation and s See Ezel, in Diet, of Bible. 

lect. xxii. HIS ESCAPE. 51 

the agreement, as almost to suggest the belief that he had a 
slight misgiving of David's future conduct in this respect. 
With tender words and wild tears, the two friends parted, never 
again to meet in the royal home. 

His refuge in the centre of Prophetical influence had been 
discovered. He therefore turned to another sanctuary, one 
less congenial, but therefore less to be suspected. On the 
slope of Olivet, overlooking the still unconquered city of Jeru- 
salem, all unconscious of the future sanctity of that venerable 
hill, stood the last relic of the ancient nomadic times— the 
Tabernacle of the Wanderings, round which since the fall of 
Shiloh had dwelt the descendants of the house of Eli. It was 
a little colony of Priests. No less than eighty-five persons 1 
ministered there in the white linen dress of the Priesthood, and 
all their families and herds were gathered round them. The 
Priest was not so ready to befriend as had been the Prophet. 
As the solitary fugitive, famished and unarmed, stole up the 
mountain side, he met with a cold reception from the cautious 
and courtly Ahimelech. By a ready 2 story of a secret mission 
from Saul, and of a hidden company of attendants, he put 
Ahimelech off his guard ; and by an urgent entreaty, it may be, 
by a gentle flattery, 3 persuaded him to give him five loaves 
from the consecrated store, and the sword of the Philistine 
giant from its place behind the sacred vestment of the priestly 
oracle, and through that oracle to give him counsel for his 
future guidance. 4 It was a slight incident, as it would seem, 
in the flight of David, but it led to terrible results, it was fraught 
with a momentous lesson. As the loaves and the sword were 
handed to David out of the sacred curtains, his eye rested on 
a well-known face, which filled him with dismay. It was Doeg, 
the Edomite 5 keeper of Saul's stables, who had in earlier years 
(so it was believed) chosen him as Saul's minstrel. He was 
for some ceremonial reason enclosed within the sacred pre- 
cincts ; and David immediately augured ill. On the informa- 

1 i Sam. xxi. i ; xxii. 18. gives it (so Thenius). 

3 This is given somewhat differently * i Sam. xxii. g, 15. 

in the Hebrew, and in the LXX. * Ibid. xxi. 7 ; xxii. 22. See Lecture 

■ 1 Sam. xxi. 5. ' It is sanctified this XX. 
'day by the instrument,' i.e. by him that 

B 2 

52 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lect. xxit. 

tion of Doeg followed one of those ruthless massacres with 
which the history of this age abounds, the house of Ithamar 
was destroyed, and the sanctuary of Nob overthrown. It may 
be that with the savage sentiment of revenge was mingled in 
the King's mind some pretext from the profanation of the 
sacred bread for common use. Jewish teachers in later times 
imagined that the loaves thus given became useless in the hands 
of the hungry 1 fugitive. But a Higher than Saul or David 
selected this act of Ahimelech 2 as the one incident in David's 
life on which to bestow His especial commendation ; because 
it contained— however tremulously and guardedly expressed 
— the great Evangelical truth that the ceremonial law, however 
rigid, must give way before the claims of suffering humanity. 

Prophet and Priest having alike failed to protect him, 
David now threw himself on the mercy of his enemies, the 
At the court Philistines. They seem to have been at this time 
of Achish. united under a single head, Achish, King of Gath, 
and in his court David took refuge. There, at least, Saul 
could not pursue him. But, discovered possibly by 'the 
1 sword of Goliath,' his presence revived the national enmity of 
the Philistines against their former conqueror. According to 
one version he was actually imprisoned, and was in danger of 
his 3 life ; and he only escaped by feigning a madness, 4 pro- 
bably suggested by the ecstasies of the Prophetic schools ; 
violent gestures, playing on the gates of the city, as on a drum 
or cymbal, letting his beard grow, and foaming at the mouth. 5 
There was a noble song of triumph ascribed to him on the 
success of this plan. Even if not actually composed by him, 
it is remarkable as showing what a religious aspect was ascribed 
in after times to one of the most secular and natural events of 
his life. ' The angel of the Lord encamped about him ' in his 
prison, and 'delivered him.' And he himself is described as 
breathing the loftiest tone of moral dignity in the midst of his 
lowest degradation : ' Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips 

1 Jerome, Qu. Heb. in loc. apocryphal colloquies (Fabricius, p. 1002). 

8 Matt. xii. 3 ; Mark ii. 25 ; Luke vi. s 1 Sam. xxi. 13, LXX. Aghyle Aga, 

3. 4. a well-known modern Arab chief, escaped 

s Title of Ps. lvi. from the governor of Acre in like manner, 

* This is the subject of one of David's pretending to be a mad dervish. 

lbct. xxn. HIS WANDERINGS. S3 

* that they speak no guile. Depart from evil, and do good ; 

1 seek peace, and pursue it.' l 

He was now an outcast from both nations. Israel and 
Philistia were alike closed against him. There was no resource 
in the cave Dut that of an independent outlaw. 2 His first retreat 
of Aduiiam. was foe cave of Adullam, probably the large cavern 
not far from Bethlehem, now called Khureitun. 3 From its 
vicinity to Bethlehem, he was joined there by his whole family, 
now feeling themselves insecure from Saul's fury. 4 This was 
probably the foundation of his intimate connexion with his 
nephews, the sons of Zeruiah. Of these, Abishai, with two 
other companies, was among the earliest. 5 Besides these, 
were outlaws from every part, including doubtless some of the 
original Canaanites — of whom the name of one at least has 
been preserved, Ahimelech the Hittite. 6 In the vast columnar 
halls and arched chambers of this subterranean palace, all who 
had any grudge against the existing system gathered round the 
hero of the coming age, the unconscious materials out of which 
a new world was to be formed. 

His next move was to a 7 stronghold, either the mountain 
afterwards called Herodium, close to Adullam, 8 or the gigantic 
fastness afterwards called Masada, in the neighbour- 
hood of En-gedi. Whilst there, he had, for the sake 
of greater security, deposited his aged parents beyond the 
Jordan, with their ancestral kinsmen of Moab. 9 The neigh- 
bouring king, Nahash of Ammon, also treated him kindly. 10 
He was joined here by two separate bands. One was a de- 
tachment of men from Judah and Benjamin under his nephew 

1 Ps. xxxiv. 7, 13, 14. in Ed. et Miye, attached to a site N.E. of 

a 1 Sam. xxii. 1 — xxvi. 25. Beitjibrin, not far from Shuweikeh (Pal. 

3 See Bonar's Land of Promise, p. Fund, Q. S , July, 1875, p 168). The 

244-247. ruins of the town (2 Chr. xi. 7 ; Neh. xi. 

* 1 Sam. xxii. 1. 3° ! 2 Mace. xii. 38) cover a considerable 
s 1 Chron. xi. 15, 20 ; 1 Sam. xxvi. 6 ; space (175), with a large well and troughs, 

2 Sam. xxiii. 13, 18. and the hill is perforated with extensive 

8 1 Sam. xxvi. 6 Sibbechai, who kills natural caves. Lieut. Conder agrees with 

the giant at Gob (2 Sam. xxi. 18) this identification (lb. 145). 
is said by Josephus to hava been a 9 Ithmah the Moabite (1 Chr. xi. 46, 

Hittite. and Zelek the Ammonite (2 Sam. xxiii. 37) 

7 1 Sam xxii 4, 6 ; 1 Chron xii. 8, 16. may have followed his track. 

* The name of Adullam has perhaps ie 2 Sam. x. 2. 
betn recovered by M. Clermont Ganneau, 

54 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. user. xxn. 

Amasa, who henceforth attached himself to David's fortunes. 1 
Another was a little body of eleven Gadite 2 mountaineers, 
who swam the Jordan in flood-time to reach him. Each 
deserved special mention by name ; each was renowned for 
his military rank or prowess ; and their activity and fierceness 
was like the wild creatures of their own wild country ; like the 
gazelles of their hills, and the lion of their forests. Following 
on their track, as it would seem, another companion appears 
for the first time, a school-fellow, if we may use the word, from 
the schools of Samuel, the prophet Gad, 3 who appears suddenly, 
like Elijah, as if too he, as his name implies, had come, like 
Elijah, from the hills and forests of Gad. 

It was whilst he was with these little bands that a foray of 
the Philistines had descended on the vale of Rephaim in 
harvest time. 4 The animals were there being laden with the 
ripe corn. The officer in charge of the expedition was on the 
watch in the neighbouring village of Bethlehem. David, in 
The well of one of those passionate accesses of home- sickness, 
Bethlehem. w hi c h belong to his character, had longed for a 
draught of water from the well, which he remembered by the 
gate of his native village, that precious water which was after- 
wards conveyed by costly conduits to Jerusalem. 5 So devoted 
were his adherents, so determined to gratify every want, how- 
ever trifling, that three of them started instantly, fought their 
way through the intervening army of the Philistines, and 
brought back the water. His noble spirit rose at the sight. 
With a still loftier thought than that which inspired Alexander's 
like sentiment in the desert of Gedrosia, he poured the 
cherished water on the ground — 'as an offering to the Lord.' 
That which had been won by the lives of those three gallant 
chiefs was too sacred for him to drink, but it was on that very 
account deemed by him as worthy to be consecrated in sacrifice 
to God as any of the prescribed offerings of the Levitical ritual. 

1 i Chron. xii. 16-18. 1875, p. 193) thinks that the requirements 

2 Ibid. 8-15. of the Hebrew text are met by the ' trench 
* 1 Sam. xxii. 5. ' dug out by the winter torrent ' in the floor 
4 2 Sam. xxiii. 13-17 ; 1 Chr. xi. 5-19. of the Wady Sumt— a trench ten to twenty 

See Rephaim in Diet, of Bible. feet wide, and over ten feet deep, and 

1 See Ritter's Palestine, 278. Lieut. containing water-worn pebbles of every 
Conder {Pal. Fund, Quart.Statem., Oct., size. 

lbct. xxii. HIS WANDERINGS. 55 

Pure Chivalry and pure Religion there found an absolute 

At the warning of Gad, David fled next to the forest of 
Hareth (which has long ago been cleared away) among the 
in the hiiis nills of Judah, and there again fell in with the Phili- 
ofjudah. s tines, and, apparently advised by Gad, made a 
descent on their foraging parties, and relieved a fortress of 
repute at that time, Keilah, in which he took up his abode 
until the harvest was gathered safely in. He was now, for the 
first time, in a fortified town of his own, 1 and to no other 
situation can we equally well ascribe what may be almost called 
the Fortress- Hymn of the 31st Psalm. 2 By this time the 400 
who had joined him at Adullam 3 had swelled to 600. Here 
he received the tidings that Nob had been destroyed, and the 
priestly family exterminated. The bearer of this news was the 
only survivor of the house of Ithamar, Abiathar, who brought 
with him the High Priest's ephod, with the Urim and Thum- 
mim, 4 which were henceforth regarded as Abiathar's special 
charge, and from him, accordingly, David received oracles and 
directions as to his movements. A fierce burst of indignation 
against Doeg, the author of the massacre, traditionally com- 
memorates the period of the reception of this news. 5 

The situation of David was now changed by the appearance 
of Saul himself on the scene. Apparently the danger was too 
great for the little army to keep together. They escaped from 
Keilah, and dispersed, 'whithersoever they could go,' amongst 
the fastnesses of Judah. 

The inhabitants of Keilah were probably Canaanites. At 
any rate, they could not be punished for sheltering the young 
outlaw. It may be, too, that the inhabitants of Southern 
Judaea retained a fearful recollection of the victory of Saul 
over their ancient enemies, 6 the Amalekites, the great trophy 
of which had been set up on the southern Carmel. The 
pursuit (so far as we can 7 trace it) now becomes unusually hot. 

1 1 Sam. xxii. 5, xxiii. 4, 7. Qu. Heb. on the passage. 

* Ps. xxxi. 2, 3, 4, 8, 20, 21 (where the s Ps. Hi. (title). 

metrical version of Tate and Brady has * See Lecture XXI. and Wright's 

inserted ' Keilah's well-fenced town'). Life of David, p. 108. 

* 1 Sam. xxii. 2, xxiii. 1?. 'We cease to follow the events with 

* \ Sam. xxiii. 6. xxii. 20-23. Jerome, «xactness, partly from ignorance of the 

56 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lect. xxii. 

He is in the wilderness of Ziph. Under the shade of the 
forest of Ziph, for the last time, he sees Jonathan. 1 Once (or 
twice) the Ziphites betray his movements to Saul. From 
thence Saul literally hunts him like a partridge, the treacherous 
Ziphites beating the bushes before him, or, like 2 a single flea 
skipping from crag to crag before the 3,000 men stationed to 
catch even the print of his footsteps on the hills. 3 David finds 
himself driven to a fresh covert, to the wilderness of Maon. 
On two, if not three occasions, the pursuer and pursued catch 
sight of each other. Of the first of these escapes the memory 
was long preserved in the name of the Cliff of Divisions, given 
to the rock down one side of which David climbed, whilst 
Saul was surrounding the hill on the other side, and whence 
he was suddenly called away by a panic of Philistine invasion. 4 
On another occasion, David took refuge in a cave at Engedi, 
so called from the beautiful spring frequented by the 

At Engedi. ... , . . . r , 11, 

wild goats which leap from rock to rock along the 
precipices immediately above the Dead Sea. 5 The hills were 
covered with the pursuers. Into the cavern, where in the 
darkness no one was visible, Saul turned aside for a moment, 
as Eastern wayfarers are wont, from public observation. 6 David 
and his followers were seated in the innermost recesses of the 
cave, and saw, without being seen, the King come in and sit 
down, spreading his wide robe, as is usual in the East on such 
occasions, before and behind the person so occupied. There 
had been an augury, a prediction of some kind, that a chance 
of securing his enemy would be thrown in David's way. 7 The 
followers in their dark retreat suggest that now is the time. 
David, with a characteristic mixture of humour and generosity, 
descends and silently cuts off the skirt of the long robe from 
the back of the unconscious and preoccupied King, and then 
ensued the pathetic scene of remonstrance and forgiveness, 

localities, partly because the same event (LXX.), xxiv. 11, xxvi. 2, 20. 

seems to be twice narrated (1 Sam. xxiii. 4 1 Sam. xxiii. 25-29. 

19-24, xxvi. 1-4 ; and perhaps 1 Sam. xxiv. * Ibid. xxiv. 1, 2. 

i-22, xxvi. 5-25). e Ibid. 3, 'to cover his feet.' The 

1 1 Sam. xxiii. 16. Oriental usage leaves no doubt as to the 

a Ibid. xxiv. 14, xxvi. 20 ; Heb. ' one nature of the act intended. 

'flea.' ' 1 Sam. xxiv. 4. 

5 Ibid, xxiii. 14, 22 (Heb. ' foot '), 24 


which shows the true affection that lived beneath the hostility 
of the two rivals. 1 The third meeting (if it can be distinguished 
from the one just given) was again in the wilderness of Ziph. 
The King was entrenched in a regular camp, formed by the 
usual Hebrew fortifications of waggons and baggage. Into 
this enclosure David penetrated by night, and carried off the 
cruse of water, and the well-known royal spear 2 of Saul, 
which had twice so nearly transfixed him to the wall in former 
days. The same scene is repeated as at Engedi — and this is 
the last interview between Saul and David. ' Return, my son 
' David ; for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul 
1 was precious in thine eyes this day. . . . Blessed be thou, 
1 my son David j ' thou shalt both do great things and also 
1 shalt prevail.' 3 

The crisis was now passed. The earlier stage of David's 
life is drawing to its close. Samuel was dead, and with him 
the house of Ramah was extinct. Saul had ceased to be 
dangerous, and the end of that troubled reign was rapidly 
approaching. David is now to return to a greater than his 
former position, by the same door through which he left it, as 
an ally of the Philistine kings. We seem for a moment to find 
him in one of the levels of life, which like many transitional 
epochs have the least elevation. He comes back not as a 
solitary fugitive, or persecuted suppliant, but as a powerful 
David as a freebooter. His 600 followers have grown up into 
freebooter. an organised 4 force, with their wives and families 
about them. He has himself established a name and fame in 
the pastures of Southern Judaea, which show that his trials had 
already developed within him some of those royal, we may 
almost say, imperious qualities, that mark his after life. Two 
wives have followed his fortunes from these regions. Of one, 
Ahinoam, we know nothing except her birthplace, Jezreel, on 
the slopes of the southern 5 Carmel. The other, Abigail, came 
from the same neighbourhood, and her introduction to David 
opens to us a glimpse of the lighter side of his wanderings, 

1 1 Sam. xxiv. 8-22. For the Mussulman * Ibid. 25. 

legend, see Weil, p. 156. * Ibid, xxvii. 3, 4. 

1 I Sam xxvi. 7, n, 22. s 1 Sam. xxv. 43 ; Josh. xv. 56. 


that we cannot afford to lose ; in which we see not only the 
romantic adventures of Gustavus Vasa, of Pelayo, of the Stuart 
Princes, but also the generous, genial life of the exiled Duke 
n the forest of Ardennes, or the outlaw of Sherwood forest. 

There lived in that part of the country Nabal, a powerful 
chief, whose wealth, as might be expected from his place of 
sto of residence, consisted chiefly of sheep and goats. The 
Nabai and tradition preserved the exact numbers of each, 3,000 
of the one, 1,000 of the other. It was the custom 
of the shepherds to drive them into the wilderness of Carmel 
Once a year there was a great banquet, when they brought back 
their sheep for shearing, with eating and drinking, ' like the feast 

* of a king.' l It was on one of these occasions that ten youths 
were seen approaching the hill. In them the shepherds 
recognised the slaves or attendants of the chief of a band of 
freebooters who had shown them unexpected kindness in their 
pastoral excursions. To Nabal they were unknown. They 
approached him with a triple salutation ; enumerated the 
services of their master, and ended by claiming, with that 
mixture of courtesy and defiance so characteristic of the East, 

* whatsoever cometh to thy hand, for thy servants 2 and for thy 

* son David.' The great sheepmaster was not disposed to 
recognise this new parental relation. He was notorious for 
his obstinacy, and his low and cynical turn of mind. On 
hearing this demand, he sprang 3 up and broke out into fury : 

* Who is David ? and who is the son of Jesse ? ' The moment 
that the messengers were gone, the shepherds that stood by 
perceived the danger of their position. To Nabal himself 
they durst not speak. But they knew that he was married to 
a wife as beautiful and wise as he was the reverse. To Abigail, 
as to the good angel of the household, one of the shepherds 
told the state of affairs. She loaded her husband's numerous 
asses with presents, and with her attendants running before 
her, rode down towards David's encampment. She was just 
in time. At that very moment, he had made the usual vow of 
extermination against the whole household. She threw herself 

1 x Sam. xxv. 2, 4, 36. a 1 Sam. xxv. 8. The LXX. omits these words. 

■ 1 Sam. xxv. 10 (LXX.) 

lect. xxii. WAR OF ZIKLAG. 59 

on her face before him, and poured forth her petition in 
language which both in form and substance almost assumes 
the tone of poetry. The main argument rests on the descrip- 
tion of her husband's character, which she draws with that 
union of playfulness and seriousness which, above all things, 
turns away wrath. ' As his name is, so is he : Fool (Nabal) is 
his name and folly is with him.' She returned with the an- 
nouncement that David had recanted his vow. Already the 
tenacious adhesion to these rash oaths had given way in ] the 
better heart of the people. Like the nobles of Palestine at a 
later period, Nabal had drunk to excess, and his wife dared 
not communicate to him either his danger or his escape. At 
break of day she told him both. The stupid reveller was 
suddenly aroused to a sense of his folly. It was as if a stroke 
of paralysis or apoplexy had fallen upon him. Ten days he 
lingered, 'and the Lord smote Nabal and he died.' The 
memory of his death long lived in David's memory, and in his 
dirge over the noblest of his enemies, he rejoiced to say that 
Abner had not died like 2 Nabal. The rich and beautiful 
widow became his wife. 3 

In this new condition, David appears at the court of 
Achish, King of Gath. He is warmly welcomed. After the 
manner of Eastern potentates, Achish gave him, for his support, 
a city — Ziklag on the frontier of Philistia — which thus became 
an appanage of the royal house of Judah. 4 His increasing 
importance is indicated by the fact that a body of Benjamite 
archers and slingers, twenty-three of whom are specially named, 
joined him from the very tribe of his rival. 5 Possibly during 
this stay he may have acquired the knowledge of military 
organisation, in which the Philistines surpassed the Israelites, 

1 See Lecture XXL, p. 14. 'as a Divine judgment.' 

* 2 Sam. iii. 33 (Heb. and LXX.). * 1 Sam. xxvii. 6. Here we meet with 

' The suspicions entertained by theo- the first note of time in David's life. He 

logians of the last century, that there was was settled there for a ' year and four 

a conspiracy between David and Abigail ' months ' (xxvii. 7). But the value of this 

to make away with Nabal, have given is materially damaged by the variations in 

place to the better spirit of modern criti- the LXX. to 'four months.' and Joseph, 

cism, and Ewald enters fully into the (Ant. vi. 13, § 10) to 'four months and 

feeling of the narrator, closing his sum- ' twenty days.' 

mary of Nabal's death with the reflection ' 1 Chr. xii. 1-7. 
that ' it was not without justice regarded 

60 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lect. Mil 

and in which he surpassed all the preceding rulers of 

He deceived Achish into confidence by attacking the old 
nomadic inhabitants of the desert frontier, and, with relentless 
severity, cutting off all witnesses of this deception, and repre- 
senting the plunder to be from portions of the southern tribes 
of Israel or the nomadic tribes allied to them. But this confi- 
dence was not shared by the Philistine nobles ; and accord- 
ingly when Achish went on his last victorious campaign against 
Saul, David was sent back, and thus escaped the difficulty of 
being present at the battle of Gilboa.' He found that during 
his absence the Bedouin Amalekites, whom he had plundered 
during the previous year, had made a descent upon Ziklag, 
burnt it to the ground, and carried off the wives and children 
of the new settlement. A wild scene of frantic grief and re- 
crimination ensued between David and his followers. It was 
calmed by an oracle of assurance from Abiathar. 2 It happened 
that an important accession had just been made to his force. 
On his march to Gilboa, and on his retreat, he had been joined 
by some chiefs of the Manassites, through whose territory he 
was passing. Urgent as must have been the need for them at 
home, yet David's fascination carried them off, and they now 
assisted him against the plunderers. 3 They overtook the 
invaders in the desert, and recovered the spoil. These were 
the gifts with which David was now able, for the first time, to 
requite the friendly inhabitants of the scene of his wanderings. 4 
A more lasting memorial was the law which traced its origin to 
the arrangement made by him, formerly in the affair with Nabal, 
but now again, more completely, for the equal division of the 
plunder amongst the two-thirds who followed to the field, and 
the one-third who remained to guard the baggage. 5 Two days 
after this victory a Bedouin arrived from the North with the 
news of the defeat of Gilboa. The reception of the tidings of 
the death of his rival and of his friend, the solemn mourning, 
the vent of his indignation against the bearer of the message, 
the pathetic lamentation that followed, which form the natural 

* i Sam. xxix. 3-1 1. 2 Ibid. xxx. 1-8. 3 1 Chr. xii. 19-21. 

4 1 Sam. xxx. 26-31. * Ibid. 25, xxv. 13. 


close of this period of David's life, have been already described 

in their still nearer connexion with the life and death of Saul. 1 

It is a period which has left on David's character marks 

never afterwards effaced. Hence sprang that ready sagacity, 

natural to one who had so long moved with his life in his 

hand. At the very beginning 2 of this period of his 
Effects of . . . J r ? ° ,i_,,,. 

his wander- career, it is said of him that he 'behaved himself 

' wisely,' evidently with the impression that it was a 
wisdom called forth by his difficult position — that peculiar 
Jewish 3 caution, like the instinct of a hunted animal, so 
strongly developed in the persecuted Israelites of the middle 
ageb. We cannot fix with certainty the dates of the Psalms of 
this epoch 4 of his life. But, in some at least, we can trace 
even the outward circumstances with which he was surrounded. 
In them, we see David's flight ' as a bird to the mountains ' 5 
— like the partridges that haunt the wild hills of Southern 
Judah. As he catches the glimpses of Saul's archers and 
spearmen from behind the rocks, he sees them ' bending their 
' bows, making ready their arrows upon the string,' — he sees 
the approach of those who hold no converse except through 
those armed, bristling bands, whose very ' teeth are spears and 
* arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.' 6 

The savage scenery suggests the overthrow of his enemies. 
'They shall be a portion for the ravening jackals.' 7 They 
shall 'be overtaken by fire and brimstone, 8 storm and tempest,' 
such as laid waste the cities of old, in the deep chasms above 
which he was wandering. His mind teems with the recollec- 
tions of the ' rocks and fastnesses,' the ' caves and leafy 
' coverts ' amongst which he takes refuge — the ' precipices ' 
down which he ' slips ' — the steps cut in the cliffs for him to 
tread in, the activity as of 'a wild goat ' with which he bounds 
from crag to crag to escape his enemies. 9 

1 2 Sam. i. i- 27. See Lecture XXI. ('When he was in the wilderness of 

a 1 Sam. xviii. 14, 30. 'Judah,' or Idumaea, LXX.) ; cxlii ('A 

3 See Lecture III. ' prayer when he was in the cave '). 
* To this period are annexed by their ' Ps. xi. 1. 

traditional titles Psalm xi. (believed by * Ps. xi. 2, lvii. 4. 

Ewald to be David's); liv. ('When the 7 Ps. lxiii. 10. 

' Ziphim came and said, Doth not David * Ps. xi. 6. 

'■ hide himself with us'.'') ; lvii. (' When he Ps. xviii. 2, 31, 33, 36, 46 ; xxxi. a, 3, 

'- fled from Saul in the cave ') ; lxiii. 20. 

62 THE YOUTH OF DAVID. lect. xxn. 

But yet more in these Psalms we observe the growth of his 
dependence on God, nurtured by his hairbreadth escapes. 
* As the Lord liveth, who hath redeemed l my soul out of 
1 adversity,' was the usual form of his oath or asseveration in 
later times. The wild, waterless hills through which he passes, 
give a new turn to his longing after the fountain of Divine con- 
solations. ' O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee. 
1 My soul thirsteth for Thee in a barren and dry land where no 
' water 2 is.' The hiding-places in which the rock arches over 
his 3 head are to him the very shadow of the Almighty wings. 
The summary of this whole period when he was ' delivered 
1 from the hand of all his enemies, and from 4 Saul,' is that of 
one who knows that for some great purpose he has been 
drawn up from the darkest abyss of danger and distress. He 
seemed to have sunk down below the lowest depths of the sea ; 
and out of those depths his cry reached to the throne of God ; 
and, as in a tremendous thunderstorm, with storm and wind, 
with thunder and lightning, with clouds and darkness, God 
himself descended and drew him forth. ' He sent from above, 
1 He took me, He drew me out of many waters.' The means 
by which this deliverance was achieved were, as far as we know, 
those which we see in the Books of Samuel— the turns and 
chances of Providence, his own extraordinary activity, the faith- 
fulness of his followers, the unexpected increase of his friends. 
But the act of deliverance itself is described in the language 
which belongs to the descent upon Mount Sinai or the Passage 
of the Red Sea. It was the Exodus, though of a single human 
soul, yet of a soul which reflected the whole nation. It was 
the giving of a second Law, though through the living tablets 
of a heart, deeper and vaster than the whole legislation of 
Moses. It was the beginning of a new Dispensation. 

1 2 Sam. iv. 9 ; i Kings i. 29. apparent allusions to the alliances of 

' Ps. lxiii. 1. That this relates to his foreign enemies in verses 43, 44, 45. places 

earlier wanderings, and not to the flight this Psalm at the close of David's wars, 

from Absalom, appears from the Hebrew But the special mention of Saul in the title, 

word for ' wilderness,' in the title (midbar). an d t h e general character of the contents, 

1 Ps. lvii. 1. seem ra ther to fix it to this period. 

* Ps. xviii. 1. Ewald, chiefly from the 





C jj X rtO) H -P 





The Psalms which, according to their titles or their contents, illustrate this period, 
are : — 

(i) For Hebron, Psalm xxvii. 

(2) For the occupation of Jerusalem, Psalms xxix., lxviii., cxxxii., xxx., xv., xxiv., 
xcvi. 1 Chron. xvi. 8-86, xvii. 16-27, xxix. 10-19. 

(3) For the wars, Psalms xx., xxii., cviii., ex. 

The reign of David divides itself into two unequal portions. 
The first is the reign of seven years and six months at Hebron. 
Reign at Hebron was selected, doubtless, as the ancient sacred 
Hebron. c j t y f the tribe of Judah, the burial-place of the 
patriarchs, and the inhabitants of Caleb. Here David was first 
formally anointed king, it would seem by the tribe of Judah, 
without any intervention of Abiathar. To Judah his reign was 
nominally confined. But probably for the first five years of the 
time, the dominion of the house of Saul, the seat of which was 
now at Mahanaim, did not extend to the west of the Jordan. 
We have already seen l how ' David waxed stronger and 
' stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.' 
First came the successful inroad into Ishbosheth's territory. 
The single combat, the rapid pursuit, are told, however, chiefly 
for their connexion with the fortunes of two members of David's 
Death of family. That fierce chase was sadly marked by the 
Asahei. death of his nephew Asahel, who there put to the 
last stretch his antelope swiftness, ' turning neither to the right 
1 nor to the left ' for any meaner prize than the mighty Abner. 
Abner, with the lofty generosity which never deserts him, chafes 
against the cruel necessity which forces him to slay his gallant 
pursuer. All the soldiers halted, struck dumb with grief over 
the dead body of their young leader. It was carried back and 
buried at Bethlehem, in their ancestral resting-place. 

1 See Lecture XXI. 

LBCT. xxiii. JOAB. 65 

It is now that Joab first appears on the scene. He was 
the eldest and the most remarkable of David's nephews, who, 
as we have shown, stood to him rather in the relation of cousin, 
from the interval of age between their mother and 
David, her youngest brother. Asahel was the darling 
of his brothers, and would have doubtless won a high place 
amongst the heroes of his youthful uncle's army. Abishai 
was thoroughly loyal and faithful to David, even before the 
adherence of Joab— like Joab, implacable to the enemies of 
the royal house ; unlike Joab, faithful to the end. But Joab 
with those ruder qualities combined something of a more 
statesmanlike character, which brings him more nearly on a 
level with David, and gives him the second place in the whole 
coming history. He had lived before, it may be, on more 
friendly terms than the rest of his family, with the reigning 
house of Saul. He was at least well known to Abner. 1 It 
was not till after the death of Saul, that he finally attached him- 
self to David's fortunes. The alienation was sealed by the 
death of Asahel. To him, whatever it might be to Abishai, it 
was a loss never to be forgiven. Reluctantly he had forborne 
the pursuit after Abner. Eagerly he had seized the opportunity 
of Abner's visit to David, decoyed him to the interview in the 
gateway of Hebron, and there treacherously murdered him. 2 
It may be that, with the passion of vengeance for his brother's 
death, was mingled the fear lest Abner should supplant him in 
the royal favour. He was forced to appear with all the signs 
of mourning at the funeral ; Joab walked before the corpse, the 
king behind. But it was an intimation of Joab's power, that 
David never forgot. * I am this day weak, though anointed 
' king ; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me : 
' the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wicked- 
1 ness.' So he hoped in his secret heart. But Joab's star was 
in the ascendant, he was already at the head of David's band, 
and a still higher prize was in store for him. 

For now, on the death of Ishbosheth, the throne, so long 
waiting for David, was at last vacant, and the united voice of 
the whole people at once called him to occupy it. A solemn 

1 2 Sam. ii. 22, 26. 2 Ibid. iii. 27. 

II. i 

66 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lect. xxiii 

league was made between him and his people. 1 For the second 
time David was anointed king, and a festival of three days 
celebrated the joyful event. 2 His little band had now swelled 
into 'a great host, like the host of God.' 3 It was formed by 
contingents from every tribe of Israel. Two are specially 
mentioned as bringing a weight of authority above the others. 
The sons of Issachar had ' understanding of the times to know 
' what Israel ought to do,' and with the adjacent tribes con- 
tributed to the common feast the peculiar products of their rich 
territory. 4 The Levitical tribe, formerly represented in David's 
following only by the solitary fugitive Abiathar, now came in 
strength, represented by the head of the rival branch of Eleazar, 
the aged Jehoiada and his youthful and warlike kinsman Zadok. 5 
There is one Psalm traditionally referred to this part of David's 
life. 6 It is that which opens with the words famous as the 
motto of our own famous University : ' The Lord is my light ; ' 
and the courageous and hopeful spirit which it breathes, the 
confident expectation that a better day was at hand, whilst 
it lends itself to the manifold applications of our own later 
days, well serves as an introduction to the new crisis in the 
history of David and of the Jewish Church which is now at 
hand. It must have been with no common interest that the 
surrounding nations looked out to see on what prey the Lion 
of Judah, now about to issue from his native lair, would make 
his first spring. 

One fastness alone in the centre of the land had hitherto 
defied the arms of Israel. Long after every other fenced city 
Capture of nac * yielded, the fortress of Jebus remained impreg- 
jerusaiem. naD le, planted on its rocky heights, guarded by its 
deep ravines, and yet capable on its northern quarter of an 
indefinite expansion. On this, with a singular prescience, 
David fixed as his new capital. The inhabitants prided them- 
selves on their inaccessible position. Even the blind and the 
lame, they believed, could defend it. ' David,' they said, ' shall 
4 never come up hither.' Herodotus 7 compares Jerusalem to 

• 2 Sam. v. 3. 3 1 Chr. xii. 39. 3 Ibid. 22. * Ibid. 32, 40. 5 Ibid. 27, 2d, xxvti. 5. 
6 Ps. xxvii. The LXX. gives as the title ' Before the anointing.' 

* If we may co interpret Herod, ii. 159, iii. 5. 


Sardis. Like Sardis it was taken, through the neglect of the 
one point which nature seemed to have guarded sufficiently. 
At once David offered the highest prize in his kingdom — the 
chieftainship of the army — to the soldier who should scale the 
precipice. Did the thought cross his mind (as in a darket 
hour afterwards) that he who was most likely to make the 
daring attempt would perish, and thus the hard yoke of the 
sons of Zeruiah be broken ? We know not. To Joab, as we 
see from all his preceding and subsequent conduct, the 
proffered post was the highest object of ambition. With the 
agility so conspicuous in his family — in Asahel his brother, and 
in David his uncle — he clambered up the 1 cliff, and dashed the 
defenders down, and was proclaimed Captain of the Host. 2 
What became of the inhabitants we are not told. But 
apparently they were in great part left undisturbed. A power- 
ful Jebusite chief, probably the king, 3 with his four sons, lived 
on property of his own immediately outside the walls. But the 
city itself was immediately occupied as the capital of the new 
kingdom. Fortifications 4 were added by the king and by Joab, 
and the city immediately became the royal residence. 

From that moment, we are told, David ' went on, going and 
'growing, and the Lord God of Hosts was with him.' The 
neighbouring nations were partly enraged, and partly awestruck. 
The Philistines made two ineffectual attacks on the new King, 
and a retaliation on their former victories, and on the capture 
of the Ark, took place by the capture and conflagration of their 
idols. 5 Tyre, now for the first time appearing in the satred 
history, allied herself with Israel, and sent cedar wood for the 
building of the new capital. 6 But the occupation of Jerusalem 
was to be of a yet greater than any strategical or political 

Those only who reflect on what Jerusalem has since been 
to the world can appreciate the grandeur of the moment when 
it passed from the hands of the Jebusites, and became 'the 

1 2 Sam. v. S.^The 'gutter ;' perhaps is elsewhere Araunah the Jebusite (Heb. 

the portcullis (Kafappcucr-rjr, by which the and Ewald). The LXX. and Vulgate 

LXX. elsewhere render the word). See omit the words. 

Ewald, iii. 157. * 2 Sam. v. 9 : 1 Chr. xi. 8. 

' i Chr. xi. 5, 6. '2 Sam. v. 17-20 ; 1 Chr. xiv. 8-12. 

1 Araunah the King in j Sam. xxiv. 23. * 2 Sam. v. 11 ; 1 Chr. xiv. 1. 

F 2 

68 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lkct. xxni 

'city of David.' It was to be the inauguration of that new 
religious development of the Jewish nation, which having 
Consecra De g un w i tn the establishment of the first King, now 
tionof received the vast impulse which continued till the 
overthrow of the monarchy. This impulse was 
given by the establishment of the Ark at Jerusalem. 

The Ark was still in exile. It was detained at its first halting- 
place, Kirjath-jearim, on the outskirts of the hills of Judah. It 
was to be moved in state to the new capital, which, by its re- 
ception, was to be consecrated. Unhallowed and profane as 
the city had been before, it was now to be elevated to a sanctity 
which it never lost, above all the other sanctuaries of the land, 
1 Thy birth and thy nativity,' says Ezekiel, in addressing Jeru- 
salem, ' is of the land of Canaan : thy father was an Amorite, 
1 and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the 
1 day thou wast born . . . thou wast not salted at all, nor 
1 swaddled at all . . . thou wast cast out in the open field, to 
1 the loathing of thy person in the day that thou wast born.' l 
This unknown obscure heathen city was now to win the name 
Translation which even to the superseding not only of the title of 
of the Ark. j eD us, but of Jerusalem, it thenceforth assumed and 
bears to this 2 day—' The Holy City.' At Ephratah, 3 at Beth- 
lehem, the idea of making this great transference had occurred 
to David's mind. The festival was one which exactly corre- 
sponded to what in the Middle Ages would have been 'the 
1 Feast of the Translation ' of some great relic, by which a new 
city or a new church was to be glorified. Long sleepless nights 4 
had David passed in thinking of it — as St. Louis of the trans- 
port of the Crown of Thorns to the Royal Chapel of Paris. 
Now the time was come. A national assembly was called from 
the extremest north to the extremest south. 5 The king went 
at the head of his army 6 to find the lost relic of the ancient 
religion. They ' found it ' in the woods which gave its name 
to Kirjath-jearim, ' the city of the woods,' on the wooded 7 hill 

1 Ezek. xvi. 3, 4, 5. xiii. 5). 

a El-KJwds. Possibly the Kadytis of 8 Variously reported as 30,000, or 

Herodotus (ii. 159 ; iii. 5). 70,000 (LXX.). 

s Ps. cxxxii. 6. * Ibid, verse 4. ' 2 Sam. vi. 3, 4, hag-gibeah, Auth. 

8 From the Orontes to the Nile (1 Chr. Vers. Gibeah. 


above the town, in the house of Abinadab. It was removed 
in the same way in which it had been brought j a car or cart, 
newly made for the purpose, drawn by oxen, dragged it down 
the rugged path, accompanied by two of the sons of Abinadab ; 
the third, Eleazar, who had been the priest of the little sanctuary, 
is not now mentioned. 1 Of these Ahio went 2 before, Uzzah 
guided the cart. The long procession went down the defile 
with music of all kinds, till a sudden halt was made at a place 
known as the threshing-floor of Nachon, or 3 Chidon ; accord- 
ing to one tradition, the spot where Joshua had lifted up his 
spear against Ai ; according to another, the threshing-floor of 
Araunah, close to Jerusalem. At this point, perhaps slipping 
on the smooth rock, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah caught hold 
of the Ark, to save it from falling. Suddenly he fell down dead 
by its side. A long tradition has connected the going forth of 
the Ark with a terrible thunderstorm j 4 and another 5 speaks 
of the manner of Uzzah's death as by the withering of his arm 
and shoulder. Whatever may have been the mode of his death, 
or whatever the unexplained sin or error which was believed to 
have caused it, the visitation produced so deep a sensation, that, 
with a mixture of awe and mistrust, David hesitated to go on. The 
place was called ' the Breaking forth,' or the ' Storm of Uzzah,' 
and the Ark was carried aside into the house of a native of 
Gath, Obed-edom, who had settled within the Israelite territory. 
After an interval of three months, David again made the 
Entrance of attempt. This time the incongruous, unauthorised 
the Ark. conveyance of the cart was avoided, and the Ark 
was carried, as on former days, on the shoulders of the Levites. 6 

1 2 Sam. vi. 3. Comp. 1 Sam. vii. 1. storm which it describes with the death 

3 Ibid. vi. 4. of Uzzah. Comp. Ps. lxviii. 7-33. The 

3 See the various readings of the LXX. others are the 15th, 24th, 30th, 68th, 132nd, 
and Hebrew, in 2 Sam. vi. 6, 1 Chr. xiii. 141st. Fragments of poetry worked up 
9, and Joseph. {Ant. vii. 4, § 2). into Psalms (xcvi. 2-13, cv., cvi., 1, 47, 

4 Ps. xxix. 1. No less than even 48), occur in 1 Chr. xvi. 8-36, as having 
Psalms, either in their traditional titles, been delivered by David 'into the hands of 
or in the irresistible evidence of their ' Asaph and his brother ' after the close of 
contents, bear traces of this festival. the festival. The two mysterious terms in 
The 29th 'by its tide in the LXX.) is said the titles of Ps. vi. and xlvi. (Sheminithand 
to be on the 'Going forth of the taber- Alamoth) also appear in the lists of those 
' nacle.' As 'the tabernacle' was never mentioned on this occasion in 1 Chr. xv. 
moved from Gibeon in David's time, ' the 20, 21. 

'ark' is probably meant. Chandler (Life * Jerome, Qu. Heb. on 1 Chr. xiii. 7. 

of David, It. 211) connects the thunder- * 2 Sam. vi. 13 ; 1 Chr. xv. 15. 

70 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lbct. xxm. 

Every arrangement was made for the music, under the Levite 
musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan or Jeduthun, and ! Che- 
naniah 'the master of the song.' Obed-edom still ministered 
to the Ark which he had guarded. According to the Chronicles, 
the Priests and Levites, under the two heads of the Aaronic 
family, 2 figured in vast state. As soon as the first successful 
start had been made, a double sacrifice was made. 3 The 
well-known shout which accompanied the raising of the Ark 
at the successive movements in the wilderness, was doubtless 
heard once more, — ' Let God arise, and let His enemies be 
' scattered.' ' Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest \ Thou, and the 
4 ark of Thy strength.' 4 The priests in their splendid dresses, 
the two rival tribes of the South, Judah and Benjamin, the 
two warlike tribes of the North, Zebulun and Naphthali, 5 are 
conspicuous in the procession. David himself was dressed in 
the white linen mantle of the Priestly order ; and as in the 
Prophetic schools where he had been brought up — and as still 
in the colleges of Eastern dervishes — a wild dance formed part 
of the solemnity. Into this, the King threw himself with un- 
usual enthusiasm : his heavy royal robe was thrown aside ; the 
light linen ephod appeared to the bystanders hardly more than 
the slight dress of the Eastern 6 dancers. He himself had a 
harp in his hand, with which he accompanied the dance. It 
may be that, according to the Psalms ascribed to this epoch, 
this enthusiasm expressed not merely the public rejoicing, but 
his personal feeling of joy at the contrast between the depth of 
danger — ' the grave ' as it seemed, out of which he had been 
snatched, and the exulting triumph of the present — the ex- 
change of sad mourning for the festive dress — of black sack- 
cloth for the white cloak of 7 gladness. The women came out 
to welcome him and his sacred charge, 8 as was the custom on 
the return from victory. The trumpets pealed loud and long, 
as if they were entering a captured city ; the shout as of a 
victorious host rang through the valleys of Hinnom and of the 

1 2 Sam. vi. 15 ; 1 Chr. xiii. 2, xv. 16- * Ps. cxxxii. 9, lxviii. 27. 

a, 27. • et? rwr opxov/xeVwp (LXX.). 

* 1 Chr. xv. 11. * Ps. xxx. 9, 11. 

" 2 Sam. vi. 13 ; 1 Chr. xv. 96. " Ps. lxviii. 11 (Heb.), 25 ; 2 Sam. vi. 

* Ps. lxviii. 1, cxxxii. 8. 20. 


Kedron ; and as they wound up the steep ascent which led to 
the fortress. Now at last the long wanderings of the Ark were 
over. ' The Lord hath chosen Zion j He hath desired it for 
' His habitation.' 'This is My rest for ever— here will I dwell 
1 and delight therein.' It was safely lodged within the new 
Tabernacle which David had erected for it on Mount Zion, to 
supply the place of the ancient tent which still lingered at ' 

It was the greatest day of David's life. Its significance in 
his career is marked by his own pre-eminent position : Con- 
queror, Poet, Musician, Priest, in one. The sacrifices were 
offered by him ; the benediction both on his people and on his 
household were 2 pronounced by him. He was the presiding 
spirit of the whole scene. One only incident tarnished its 
brightness. Michal, his wife, in the proud, we may almost say, 
conservative spirit of the older dynasty — not without a thought 
of her father's fallen 3 house — poured forth her contemptuous 
reproach on the king who had descended to the dances and 
songs of the Levitical procession. He in reply vowed an 
eternal separation, marking the intense solemnity which he 
attached to the festival. 

But the Psalms which directly and indirectly 4 spring out of 
this event reveal a deeper meaning than the mere outward 
ritual. It was felt to be a turning point in the history of the 
nation. It recalled even the great epoch of the passage 
through the wilderness. It awoke again the inspiriting strains 
of the heroic career 5 of the Judges. Even the long lines of 
the Bashan hills where the first hosts of Israel had encamped 6 
beyond the Jordan, were not so imposing as the rocky heights 
of Zion. Even the sanctity of Sinai, with its myriads of minis- 
tering spirits, is transferred to this new and vaster sanctuary. 
The long captivity of the Ark in Philistia — that sad exile 
which, till the still longer and sadder one which is to close this 
period of the history, was known by the name of 'the captivity,' 

1 2 Sam. vi 17 ; 1 Chr. xv. a ; 

2 Chr. 

* 2 Sam. vi. 21. 

3. 4- 

* For these, see note 4, page 60. 

1 2 Sam. vi. 13, 17, 18, 20 ; 
fi. 43. 

1 Chr. 

* Ps. lxviii. 7-9 ; comp. Judges v. 4. 

' Ibid. 22. 

72 THE REIGN OF DAVID. user. xint. 

— was now brought to an end, 'captivity was captive led.' 1 
And accordingly, as the Ark stood beneath the walls of the 
ancient Jewish fortress, so venerable with unconquered age, the 
summons goes up from the procession to the dark walls in 
front, ' Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye 
1 everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.' The 
ancient everlasting gates of Jebus are called to lift up their 
heads, their 2 portcullis gates, stiff with the rust of ages. They 
are to grow and rise with the freshness of youth, that their 
height may be worthy to receive the new King of Glory. That 
glory which fled when the Ark was taken, and when the dying 
mother exclaimed over her new-born son, ' Ichabod ! ' 3 was now 
returning. From the lofty towers the warders cry — ' Who is 
' this King of Glory ? ' The old heathen gates will not at once 
recognise this new comer. The answer comes back, as if to 
prove by the victories of David the right of the name to Him 
The name wno now comes to his own again. ' Jehovah, the 
°Lordof ' Lord, the Mighty One, Jehovah, mighty in battle I' 
Hosts.' an d again by this proud title admission is claimed : 
1 Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye ever- 
' lasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.' Once 
more the guardians of the gates reply, ' Who is this King of 
'Glory?' And the answer comes back — Jehovah Sabaoth, 
the Lord of Hosts, He is the ' King of Glory.' This is the 
solemn inauguration of that great Name, by which the Divine 
nature was especially known under the monarchy. As, before, 
under the Patriarchs, it had been known as Elohim, ' the strong 
' ones ' — as, through Moses, it had been Jehovah, the Eternal, 
— so now, in this new epoch of civilisation, of armies, of all 
the complicated- machinery of second causes, of Church and 
State, there was to be a new name expressive of the wider 
range of vision opening on the mind of the people. Not 
merely the Eternal solitary existence — but the Maker and Sus- 
tainer of the host of Heaven and earth in the natural world, 

1 Ps. lxviii. 18. In the title of the ark in Philistia, as in Judg. xviii. 30. See 

LXX. Ps. xcvi. is said to be David's Lecture XVII. 

1 when the house was built after the cap- * Ps. xxiv. 7 (LXX. and Ewald). 

'tivity.' It is possible that by 'the cap- s 1 Sam. iv. 21, 22. See Lecture 

'tlvity,' may be meant the captivity of the XVII. 


which, as we see in the Psalms, 1 were now attracting the atten- 
tion and wonder of men. Not merely the Eternal Lord of the 
solitary human soul, but the Leader and Sustainer of the hosts 
of battle, of the hierarchy of war and peace that gathered 
round the court of the kings of Israel. The Greek rendering 
of the word by the magnificent Pantocrator, ■ All-conqueror,' 
passed through the Apocalypse 2 into Eastern Christendom, and 
is still the fixed designation by which in Byzantine churches 
the Redeemer is represented in His aspect of the Mighty 
Ruler of Mankind. 

This great change is briefly declared in corresponding 
phrase in the historical narrative, which tells how * David 
1 brought up the ark of God, whose name is called by the 
1 name of the Lord of Hosts that dwelleth between the 
■ cherubim ; and he blessed the people in the name of the 
* Lord 3 of Hosts.' This was indeed, as the 68th Psalm de- 
scribes it, a second Exodus. David was, on that day, the 
founder not only of Freedom only, but of Empire — not of 
Religion only, but of a Church and Commonwealth. But 
there were revelations of a yet loftier kind even than this new 
name of the Leader of the armies of Israel. The name of the 
Lord of Hosts, as revealed in the close of the 24th Psalm, was 
destined itself to fade away into a dark silence, when the hosts 
had ceased to fight, and the empire of Israel had fallen to 
pieces. But with the hopes with which that same Psalm is 
opened, and which pervade the 15 th and the 101st, the faith of 
Moral David takes a still higher and wider sweep. As if in 

requirements answer to the cry from the guardians of the gates, as 

°f David. 1 1 1 1 1 1 • 1 1 1 j • j 

he remembers the tabernacle which he had raised 

within the walls of his city to receive the Ark after its long 

wanderings — as he sees its magnificent train mounting up to its 

sacred tent on the sacred rock — the thought rises within him 

of those who shall hereafter be the citizens of the capital thus 

consecrated — and he asks, ' Who shall ascend into the mount 

1 of Jehovah ? who shall stand in His holy place ? Who 

J See Lecture XXV. Comp. Isa. xxi. 3 2 Sam. vi. 2, 18 ; vii. 25, 26. It only 

4» xl. 26. occurs once before, 1 Sam. xvii. 45. 

■ Rev. i 8. 

74 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lice. miii. 

* shall abide in Thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in Thy holy 
' tent ? ' The question is twice asked, the reply is twice given. 
1 He that hath clean hands and a pure heart ; who hath not 
1 lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn to deceive his neigh- 
' bour.' 'He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteous- 
1 ness, and speaketh the truth from his heart He that back- 
1 biteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, 
' nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. He that 
1 despise th a vile person, but honoureth them that fear 
1 Jehovah. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth 
' not. He that putteth not out his money unto usury, 
' nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth 
' these things shall never ! fall.' Of these tests for the en- 
trance into David's city and David's church one only has 
become obsolete — that of not receiving usury. All the rest 
remain in force still ; nay, it may even be said that the one 
qualification repeated in so many forms, of the duty of truth 
— even in Christian times has hardly been recognised with 
equal force, as holding the exalted place which David gives to 
it. And what he asks for the citizens of his new capital, he 
asks for the courtiers and statesmen of his new court. For 
when at length the day is passed, and he finds himself in his 
own Palace, he there lays down for himself the rules by which 
'he will walk in his house with a perfect heart.' The ioist 
Psalm was one beloved by the noblest of Russian princes, 
Vladimir Monomachos ; by the gentlest of English Reformers, 
Nicholas Ridley. But it was its first leap into life that has 
carried it so far into the future. It is full of a stern exclusive- 
ness, of a noble intolerance. But not against theological 
error, not against uncourtly manners, not against political in- 
subordination, but against the proud heart, the high look, the 
secret slanderer, the deceitful worker, the teller of lies. These 
are the outlaws from King David's court ; these are the rebels 
and heretics whom he would not suffer to dwell in his house or 
tarry in his sight. ' Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the 
' land, that they may dwell with me ; he that walketh in a per- 
' feet way, he shall be my servant. I will early destroy all the 

1 Ps. xv., xxiv. 

lbct. xxin. EMPIRE OF DAVID. 75 

' wicked of the land, that I may cut off all wicked doers from the 
' city of the l Lord.' Many have been the holy associations with 
which the name of Jerusalem has been invested in Apocalyptic 
visions and Christian hymns, but they have their first historical 
ground in the sublime aspirations of its first royal Founder. 

How far this high ideal was realised — how far lost, will be 
seen as we proceed through the tangled history of the court 
and empire of Israel. 

The erection of the new capital at Jerusalem introduces us 
to a new era, not only in the inward hopes of the Prophet 
Empire of King, but in the external history of the monarchy. 
David. Up to tn is t i me he had been a chief, such as Saul 
had been before him, or as the kings of the neighbouring 
tribes, each ruling over his territory, unconcerned with any 
foreign relations except so far as was necessary to defend his 
own nation or tribe. But David, and through him the 
Israelitish monarchy, now took a wider range. He became a 
King on the scale of the great Oriental sovereigns of Egypt 
and Persia, with a regular administration and organisation of 
court and camp j and he also founded an imperial dominion 
which for the first time realised the Patriarchal 2 description of 
the bounds of the chosen people. This imperial dominion 
was but of short duration, continuing only through the reigns 
of David and his successor Solomon. But, for the period of 
its existence, it lent a peculiar character to the sacred history. 
For once, the Kings of Israel were on a level with the great 
potentates of the world. David was an imperial conqueror, if 
not of the same magnitude, yet of the same kind, as Rameses or 
Sennacherib. ' I have made thee a great name like unto the 

* name of the great men that are in the earth.' 'Thou hast 

* shed blood abundantly and made great wars.' 3 And as, on 
the one hand, the external relations of life, and the great 
incidents of war and conquest receive an elevation by their 
contact with the religious history, so the religious history swells 
into larger and broader dimensions from its contact with the 
course of the outer world. The enlargement of territory, the 
amplification of power and state, lead to a corresponding 

* Ps. ci. 6-8. ' Gen. xv. 18-21. ■ 2 Sam. vii. 9 ; 1 Chr. xxii. 8. 

J 6 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lbct. xxiii. 

enlargement and amplification of ideas, of imagery, of sym- 
pathies ; and thus (humanly speaking), the magnificent fore- 
bodings of a wider dispensation in the Prophetic writings first 
became possible through the court and empire of David. 

. The general organisation of the kingdom now 

tionofthe established, lasted to the end of the monarchy of 
ing om. .yyhich David was the founder. 

(i.) At the head of it was the Royal Family, the House of 
David. The princes were under the charge of a governor 
Roya i named Jehiel, 1 perhaps a Levite, 2 except Solomon, 
Family. w ^ (according at least to one rendering) was under 
the charge of Nathan. 3 David himself was surrounded by a 
royal state unknown before. He was the Chief or ' Patriarch ' 
of the dynasty. 4 He had his own royal mule, especially 
known as such. 5 He had his royal seat or throne, in a separate 
chamber or gateway in the palace. 6 The highest officers of 
the court, even the Prophets, did not venture into his presence 
without previous announcement ; 7 when they did enter, it 
was with the profoundest obeisance and prostration. 8 His 
followers, who up to the time of his accession had been called 
his 'young men,' his 'companions,' henceforth became his 
' servants,' his ' slaves.' 9 He had the power of dispensing 
even with 10 the fundamental laws and usages of the Jewish 

M (2.) The military organisation, which was in part 

organisa- inherited from Saul, but greatly developed by David, 

was as follows : — 

(a.) 'The Host' was the whole available military force of 

Israel, consisting of all males capable of bearing arms, and 

was summoned only for war. There were twelve 

divisions who were held to be on duty month by 

month ; and over each of them presided an officer, selected 

for this purpose, from the other military bodies formed by 

■ 1 Chr. xxvii. 32. ' Ibid. 23. 

a Ibid. xv. 21 ; 2 Chr. xx. 14. 8 2 Sam. ix. 6, xiv. 4, 22, 33, xviii. 28, 

* 2 Sam. xii. 25. xix. 18 ; 1 Kings i. 16, 23, 31. 

* Acts ii. 29. 9 See article Elhanan in the Die- 
s 1 Kings i. 33. tionary of the Bible. 

' Ibid. 35, 4* ; comp. 2 Sam. xv. 2. 10 2 Sam. xiii. 13 ; xiv. n, 19. 

lbct. xxin. ITS ORGANISATION. 77 

David 1 The army was still distinguished from those of 
surrounding nations by its primitive aspect of a force of 
infantry without cavalry. The only innovations as yet allowed 
were, the introduction of a very limited number of chariots, 2 
and of mules for the princes and officers instead of the asses. 3 
According to a Mussulman tradition, 4 David invented chain 
armour. The usual weapons were still spears and shields, 5 
though with large bodies of archers and slingers. The com- 
mand-in-chief of the army was an office already recognised 
under Saul, when it was held by Abner. 6 But it reached its 
full grandeur in the person of Joab, to whom it was given as 
the prize for the escalade of Jerusalem. He had a chief 
armour-bearer of his own (Naharai, a Beerothite) 7 and ten 
attendants to carry his baggage. 8 He had the charge, formerly 
belonging to the king or judge, of giving the signal by trumpet, 9 
for advance or retreat. He commanded the army in the king's 
absence. 10 He was called by the almost royal title of 'lord' 
or ' prince of the king's army.' H He, with the King, assisted 
at the fortification of the city. He, with the King, supplied 
offerings to the sacred treasury. His usual residence was in 
Jerusalem, but he had a house and property with barley fields 
adjoining on the edge 12 of the Jordan Wilderness, near an 
ancient sanctuary, Baalhazor, where Absalom had extensive 
sheep-walks. The ' sons of Joab ' were to be found as a 
separate class after the captivity. 13 

(b.) The body-guard also had existed in the court of Saul, 
and David himself had probably been its commanding officer. 14 
The body- But lt now assumed a peculiar form. They were at 
guard. i east j n name foreigners, as having been drawn from 

the Philistines, probably during David's residence at the court 
of Gath. They are usually called from this circumstance 

' i Chr. xxvii. 1-15. * 2 Sam. xxiii. 37 ; 1 Chr. xi. 39. 

• 2 Sam. viii. 4. " 7 Sam. xviii. 15. 

• Ibid. xiii. 29, xviii. 9. * Ibid. 16, xx. 22. 

• Koran, xxi. 80. Comp. the legends ,0 Ibid. xii. 26, 27. 

in Weil's Legends, p. 155, and Lane's " Ibid. xi. 11 ; 1 Chr. xxvii. 34. 

Selections from the Koran, p. 229. Thus 12 2 Sam. xiv. 30, xiii. 23 ; 1 Kings u. 

a good coat of mail is often called by the 34. 

Arabs ' Daoodee,' i.e. Davidean. 1S Neh. vii. n. 

• Ps. xxxv. 2, 3 ; 1 Chr. xii. 24, 34, &c. >4 See \ Sam. xxii. 14 (Hebr.) ; Ewald, 

• Se« Lecture XX. iii. 98. 

78 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lect. xxiii, 

* Cherethites and Pelethites,' that is Cretans 1 and refugees,' 
but had also 2 a body especially from Gath 3 amongst them, 
of whom the name of one, Ittai, is preserved The captain of 
the force was, however, not only not a foreigner, but an 
Israelite of the highest distinction and purest descent, who 
outlived David, and became the chief support of the 
throne of his son, namely, Benaiah, son of the chief 
priest Jehoiada, representative of the eldest branch of Aaron's 
house. 4 Three mighty exploits appear to have gained this 
high place for him, as Joab's had been secured by the capture 
of Jerusalem. He attacked two heroes 5 or princes of Moab. 
He encountered a 6 lion which a snow-storm had driven to 
take refuge in a cistern or pitfall, where none but Benaiah 
ventured to penetrate. He fought with a gigantic Egyptian, 
whose spear was so huge that it seemed like a tree thrown 
across a ravine. 7 This the Israelite soldier forced from his 
hand, and, like another David, slew the giant with his own 

(c.) The most peculiar military institution in David's army 
was that which arose out of the peculiar circumstances of his 
early life. As the nucleus of the Russian army is the Preo- 
bajinsky regiment formed by Peter the Great out of the com- 
panions who gathered round him in the suburbs of that name 
in Moscow, so the nucleus of what afterwards became the only 
standing army in David's forces was the band of 600 men who 
The six na d gathered round him in his wanderings. The 
hundred. number of 600 was still preserved, with the name of 
Gibborim, * heroes ' or ' mighty men. ' It became yet further 
subdivided 8 into three large bands of 200 each, and small 
bands of twenty each. The small bands were commanded by 
thirty officers, one for each band, who together formed ' the 
' thirty,' and the three large bands by three officers, who together 

1 See Lecture XVI. and XXXVI. 4 2 Sam. viii. 18, xx. 23; 2 Kings i. 38, 44. 

1 A tradition in Jerome (Qu. Heb. on 5 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, ' Sons of Ariel ' 

1 Chr. xviii. 17) speaks of their being in (possibly the King of Moab), or 'lion-like 

the place of the seventy judges appointed ' men.' 

by Moses. s Ibid, see Joseph. {Ant. vii. 12, § 4). 

1 2 Sam. xv. 19. But here the reading ' 2 Sam. xxiii. 21 (LXX.). 

is doubtful (Ewald, iii. 177, note). See 8 See Ewald, iii. 178, for the whole o* 

Lecture XXIV. this arrangeme»t. 




formed 'the three,' and the whole by one chief, ' the captain of 
' the mighty men. ' • This commander of the whole force was 
Abishai, David's nephew. 2 'The three' were Jashobeam 3 or 
Adino, 4 Eleazar, 5 and Shammah. 6 Of 'the thirty,' some 
few only are known to fame elsewhere. Asahel, 7 David's 
nephew ; Elhanan, the victor of at least one 8 Goliath • Joel, 
the brother or son of Nathan ; 9 Naharai, the armour-bearer of 
Joab ; 10 Eliam, 11 the son of Ahithophel ; Ira, one of David's 12 
priests ; Uriah the Hittite. 13 

(3.) Side by side with this military organisation were estab- 
lished new social and moral institutions. Some were entirely 
for pastoral, agricultural, and financial purposes, 14 others for 
Officers of judicial. 15 Each tribe had its own head. 16 Of these 
state. t h e most remarkable were Elihu, David's brother 

(probably Eliab), prince of Judah, and Jaasiel, son of Abner, 
of Benjamin. 17 In the court or council of the King were the 
counsellors, Ahithophel of Giloh, and 18 Jonathan, the king's 
uncle, both renowned for their marvellous sagacity ; the com- 
panion or 'friend,' 19 Hushai, and, at the close of the reign, 
perhaps 20 Shimei; the scribe or secretary of state, Sheva or 
Seraiah, and at one time 21 Jonathan, David's uncle : Jehosha- 
phat, the recorder or 22 historian, and Adoram or Adoniram, 
the tax collector, both of whom survived him. 23 

But the more peculiar of David's institutions were those 
directly bearing on religion. Two Prophets appear as the 
King's constant advisers. Of these, Gad, who seems to have 

1 2 Sam. xxiii. 8-39 ; 1 Chr. xi. 9-47. 
9 1 Chr. xi. 20 ; and comp. 2 Sam. 
xvi. 9. 

3 1 Chr. xi. it. * 2 Sam. xxiii. 8. 

1 1 Chr. xi. 12 : 2 Sam. xxiii. 9. 

* 2 Sam. xxiii. n ; the LXX. (verse 
8) makes them : (1) Isboseth the Ca- 
naanite ; (21 Adino the Asonite ; (3) 
Eleazar, son of Dodo. 

I 1 Chr. xi. 26 ; 2 Sam. ii. 18. 

* 1 Chr. xi. 26 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 19. 

9 1 Chr. xi. 38, the LXX. has ' son.' 

10 Ibid. xi. 39 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 37. 

II 2 Sam. xxiii. 34. 

'■ 1 Chr. xi. 40 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 38, xx. 26. 
13 1 Chr. xi. 41 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 39, xi. 3, 

14 1 Chr. xxvii. 25-31. 

15 Ibid. xxvi. 29-32. 
l * Ibid, xxvii. 16-22. 
" Ibid. 18-21. 

'• Ibid. 32, 33. 

19 Ibid. 33 ; 2 Sam. xv. 37 ; xvi. 19. 

30 Joseph. Ant. vii. 14, § 4. Possibly 
Shimeah, David's brother (Ewald, iii. 226). 
In the Persian court, the king's Hadeem 
or ' playfellow.' 

21 2 Sam. xx. 25 ; 

" 2 Sam. xx. 24. 
Xerxes (Herod, vii. 
the modern Shah. 

'* 2 Sam. xx- 24 

1 Chr. xxvii. 32. 

As in the court of 
100, viii. 90) and of 

1 Kings xii. 18, iv. 



been the elder, had been David's companion in exile j and his 
title, 'the Seer,' belongs probably to the earliest form of 
The the Prophetic schools. Nathan, who appears for the 

Prophets. fj rst t } me a f ter the establishment of the kingdom of 
Jerusalem, is distinguished both by his title of 'the Prophet/ 
and by the nature of the prophecies which he utters, 1 as be- 
longing to the purest type of the Prophetic dispensation, and 
as the hope of the new generation, 2 which he supports in the 
The Priests P erson °*" Solomon. Two High Priests also appear 
' —representatives of the two rival houses of 3 Aaron; 
here again, as in the case of the two prophets, one, Abiathar, 
who had been the companion of David's exile, and was by his 
race connected with the whole time of the 4 Judges; the other 
Zadok, joining him after the death of Saul and becoming after- 
wards the support of his son, who thus became ultimately the 
head of the 5 Aaronic family. Abiathar, probably for old affec- 
tion's sake, attended the King at Jerusalem, Zadok still minis- 
tered by the ancient tabernacle at Gibeon. 6 Besides these four 
great religious functionaries, there were two classes of sub- 
ordinates : — Prophet, specially instructed in singing and music, 
under Asaph, Heman the grandson of Samuel, and Jeduthun; 7 
and Levites, or attendants on the sanctuary, who again were 
subdivided into the guardians of the 8 gates, and guardians of 
the treasures which had been accumulated, since the re-estab- 
lishment of the nation, by Samuel, Saul, Abner, Joab, and 
David himself. 9 One singular character is added to this group 
by Mussulman traditions, the half-fabulous sage Lok- 
man — the Ethiopian slave, renowned for his wise 
proverbs, who, whilst seated amongst the grandees of David's 
court, when asked how he had attained such eminence, replied, 
' By always speaking the truth, by always keeping my word, 
' and by never meddling in matters that did not concern me.' 10 
The collection of these various ministers and representatives 

1 2 Sam. vii. 3, 5-17, xii. 1-14 (LXX.)- s Ibid, xxvii. 17. 

3 2 Sam. xii. 25 ; 1 Kings i. n-44- " Ibid. xvi. 39. 

See Lecture XXVI. ' 1 Chr. xxv. 1-31. 

3 1 Chr. xxiv. 3. * Ibid. xxvi. 1-19. 

* 1 Chr. xxvii. 34 ; comp. Blunt, Undes. * Ibid. xxvi. 20-28. 

Cfincid. II. 15. ,0 D'Herbelot, ' Locman al-Hakim.' 

lj.ct. xxiii ITS ORGANISATION. 8 1 

of worship round the capital must have given a concentrated 
aspect to the history in David's time, such as it had never 
borne before. But the main peculiarity of the whole must 
have been, that it so well harmonised with the character of him 
who was its centre. As his early martial life still placed him 
at the head of the military system which had sprung up around 
him, so his early education and his natural disposition placed 
him at the head of his own religious institutions. Himself a 
Prophet and Psalmist, he was one in heart with those whose 

. advice he sought, and whose arts he fostered. And, 

supremacy more remarkably still, though not himself a Priest, he 
yet assumed almost all the functions usually ascribed 
to the priestly office. He wore, as we have seen, the priestly 
dress, offered the sacrifices, gave the priestly benediction ; 1 he 
walked round about the altar in sacred 2 processions ; and, as 
if to include his whole court within the same sacerdotal sanctity, 
Benaiah the captain of his guard was a priest 3 by descent, and 
joined in the sacred 4 music; David himself and 'the captains 
1 of the host' arranged the Prophetical duties and fixed the festi- 
vals ; 5 and his sons, as well as one of his chief functionaries, Ira 
the Manassite, 6 are actually called 'priests.' 7 Such a union 
was never seen before or since in the Jewish history. Even 
Solomon fell below it in some important points. Christian 
sovereigns have rarely ventured on so direct a control. But 
the supremacy of David is a fact which cannot be overlooked. 
What the heathen historian Justin antedates by referring it back 
to Aaron, is a true description of the effect of the reign of David : 
' Sacerdos mox rex creatur : semperque exinde hie mos apud 
' Judaeos fuit, ut eosdem reges et sacerdotes haberent ; quan- 
' turn justitia religione permixta, incredibile quantum coaluere.' 8 
How profound was that union of justice ' and religion ' — to the 
heathen so incredible — we have already seen. 

As in peace, so in war, this union of religious and secular 

1 2 Sam. vi. 14, 17, 18. • 2 Sam. xxv. 26 {Cohen), translated in 

3 Ps. xxvi. 6 (if the title may be the A.V. ' chief ruler,' but by the LXX. 
trusted. See Perowne). ' Priest.' 

* 6 ifpeusTw yeVei (Joseph. Ant. vii. 12, 7 2 Sam. viii. 18; 1 Chr. xviii. 17 
§ 4) ; 2 Sam. viii. 18. (cohanini), translated by the A.V. 'ckief 

4 1 Chr. xxvii. 5, xvi. 6. 'rulers.' 

* Ibid. xxv. 1 ; Ecclus. xlvii. 9, 10. ■ Justin, Hist, xxxvi. 2. 
II. G 

S2 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lect. xxiii. 

greatness was continued. It was as Founder of the Israelitish 
Empire, even more than as Founder of the royal dynasty or of 
the order of Psalmists, that David seemed in the eyes of his 
contemporaries to be 'the Light and the Splendour of Israel.' 1 
It was as Conqueror, even more than as Ruler, that he espe- 
cially appears as the Messiah? the Anointed one. It is in his 
order of battle, even more than in his religious processions, 
that the Ruler of Israel — whether David or David's descendant 
— appears as the Priestly King. When he is addressed as a 
Priest, though not of Levitical descent — a Priest bursting 
through all the common regulations of the Priesthood — an 
immortal Priest like the ancient Melchizedek — it is as the 
mighty Leader who is to trample, like Joshua, on the necks of 
his enemies, who is to be surrounded by his armies, numerous 
and fresh and brilliant as the drops of the morning dew, strik- 
ing through kings in the day of his wrath, filling his pathway 
with the corpses of the dead, wounding the heads of many 
countries, refreshed as he passes by the watercourse which 
divides country from country, and going on with his head 
aloft, conquering and to conquer. 3 This was the foundation 
of that resplendent image of the Messiah, which it required 
the greatest of all religious changes to move from the mind of 
the Jewish nation, in order to raise up instead of it the still 
more exalted idea which was to take its place — an Anointed 
Sovereign conquering by other arts than these of war, and in 
other dominions than those of earthly empire. 

To understand how deeply this imagery is fixed in David's 
life, we must briefly pass through the wars in which the 
dominions of David assumed their new proportions. 

His first conquests were over the Philistines. Two battles 
immediately following on the occupation of Jerusalem have 
Philistine been already noticed. But the complete reduction 
war - of the country was effected by the capture of Gath, 

and was the longest remembered. It was the scene of his 
own exile, and the chief of the five towns of Philistia, and was 

1 2 Sam. xxi. 17 ; 1 Kings xi. 36, xv. Sam. xix. 21, xxii. 51, xxiii. 1, Ps. xviii. 
4 ; Ps. exxxii. 17. 50, xxviii. 8, lxxxix. 20, 38, exxxii. 17. 

* Tb« -word is applied to David in 2 * Ps. ex. 1 (see Ewald, iii. 202). 

lbct. xxm. HIS WARS. 83 

regarded as the key of the whole country. 1 In the encounters 
which took place round this famous city may have occurred the 
adventurous single 2 combats between the warriors of David's 
army and the gigantic champions of Gath, which repeat his 
own first achievement. His nephew Jonathan, who must have 
been but a youth, almost exactly re-enacts the original combat. 
It would seem that these were also the last occasions on which 
these personal displays of his prowess were made. He had so 
narrowly escaped, by the intervention only of his nephew Abi- 
shai, that henceforth he was kept out of the direct battle, lest 
he should extinguish the torch that lighted Israel on its way to 
victory. 3 

The next war was with the hitherto friendly state of Moab, 
apparently in the depth of winter. 4 It is a Jewish tradition 
Moabhe tnat tne King of Moab broke the trust which David 
war - had reposed in him, and put to death the aged parents 

confided to his charge. 5 The invention of such a reason, if it 
be an invention, implies a sense that some explanation was 
needed of the vengeance, so terrible in its results, though so 
briefly reported, which exterminated two-thirds of the nation, 6 
and reduced the remainder to slavery. The treasures of Hesh- 
bon and Ar were carried off for the future Temple which David 
was preparing. 7 As Joab had won his high place by the cap- 
ture of Jerusalem, it is probable that so his successor Benaiah 
won his place at the head of the royal guards by his three 
exploits in this campaign. 

But David's great war was that which, beginning and end- 
ing with Ammon, involved in its sweep the whole country east 

of the Jordan as far as the Euphrates. The old King 
andSyrfan of Ammon, who had roused the hostilities of Saul, 

seems to have been proportionately friendly to the 
rival David — possibly from some family relationship obscurely 

1 This (whatever be the precise mean- is no proof that in the Ammonite wars he 

ing of Metheg-ammah) must be the was engaged in personal conflict, 

general sense of 2 Sam. viii. 1, and 1 Chr. * 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. 

xviii. 1. See Ecclus. xlvii. 7. 5 See Lecture XXII. See the quota- 

3 2 Sam. xxi. 15-22 ; 1 Chr. xx. 4-8. tions in Meyer, Seder Clam, 525. 

1 2 Sam. xxi. 17. It has been argued, ' 2 Sam. viii. 2. 

from 2 Sam. x. 18, xii. 29, that this must ' See Lecture XXII. 
hare been later in David's life. But there 

G 2 

84 TH E REIGN OF DAVID. lect. xxiii. 

indicated through the parentage of David's sister Abigail. A 
Jewish tradition relates that on the slaughter of David's family 
by the neighbouring King of Moab, the one of his brothers who 
escaped found shelter with Nahash. However this may be, on 
the death of Nahash, David sent messengers of condolence to 
his successor, who requited the embassy with an insult, which 
provoked the most determined vengeance recorded in the whole 
of David's reign. The war, thus begun, was divided into five 
distinct campaigns. The forces of Syria were subsidised by 
Ammon and combined in an attack on Medeba, a town of 
Reuben. To relieve this was the object of the first l campaign, 
conducted by Joab, who undertook the attack on the Syrians, 
and Abishai, who undertook the attack on Ammon. The 
second campaign carried the war into a wider field. Syria 
became now the chief object. David himself appeared at the 
head of his army. The whole body of Aramaic tribes, even 
those from beyond the 2 Jordan, rallied in a death-struggle for 
their independence. At the decisive battle of Helam, they 
were routed, with the loss of their commander, Shobach, and a 
second victory reduced the capital, Damascus. 3 The impor- 
tance of the campaign was marked in many ways. It is the 
only war of this time that has left traces on heathen records. 4 
The Empire was at once extended to the Euphrates, and 
Israelite officers were placed over the intermediate towns. The 
King of Hamath, on the distant Orontes, became an ally of the 
victorious David. The trophies of the war long remained 
amongst the most conspicuous historic monuments of Jeru- 
salem. The horses for which Syria was famous were destroyed, 
for their introduction into Israel was not yet come. But one 
hundred chariots came in stately procession to Jerusalem, and 
in the sacred ornaments of the Temple that was to be, the 
golden shields 5 and the brazen basin and columns long re- 
minded the Israelites of the great fight beside the Euphrates. 
* Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will 

1 i Chr. xix. 7-15 ; 2 Sam. x. 6-14. vii. 5, § ?) and Eupolemus (Eusebius, 

* 2 Sam. x. 16 ; 1 Chr. xix. 16. Pr&p. Ev. ix. 30). 

3 Ibid. viii. 3 ; 1 Chr. xix. 17-19. (See 5 2 Sam. viii. 7 ; Cant. iv. 4. See 

Ewald, iii. 198. > Lecture XXVII. 

* Nicolaus of Damascus (Joseph. Ant. % 

r-acT. XXIIT. 


* remember the name of Jehovah our God. They are brought 

* down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright.' So 
probably sang the Psalmists, 1 who welcomed David home from 
this first stage of the war, with all that fervour of religious 
gratitude 2 which saw in the Conqueror's brilliant deeds the 
reflection of the Divine favour. 

The third campaign was against Edom. It would seem as 
if, in preparation for this, David had arrayed the whole forces 
Edomite of Palestine. For this great attempt his Divine Pro- 
war - tector had portioned out the ancient settlements of 

Jacob both on the west and east of Jordan. Shechem and 
Succoth, Gilead and Manasseh were both to be there. Ephraim 
was to be the covering helmet of the Mighty Leader, who had 
the rocky mass of Judah for his invincible head. Philistia had 
quailed before his mighty advance. He had washed his feet in 
Moab as in a basin of dregs, and now the sandal which had 
been drawn off for this act of scorn was to be held by Edom as 
By a submissive slave. 3 That ancient enemy, the race of the 
red-haired Esau, we have not seen since the Passage through 
the Wilderness — hardly since the day when the two brothers 
parted by the sepulchre of Isaac. 4 Along all the red moun- 
tains of Edom, down to the impregnable city of 'the Rock,' — 
the wild tribes came forth to assist their Ammonite neighbours 
against the new aggressor. The earlier stage of the war was 
conducted by Abishai, the latter by Joab. Abishai won the 
victory of a decisive battle in a ravine, apparently commanding 
the approach to Petra, and then by the storming of the rocky 
hold itself. ' Who will lead us into the strong city, who will 
1 bring us into 5 Edom ? ' The conquest was completed by 
Joab. 6 He took up his quarters in the captured city. For six 
months he employed himself in the savage work of exterminat- 
ing the rock population. With a grim performance of duty, he 
buried the corpses of the dead as fast as they fell in the tombs 

1 Ps. xx. 7 (Syr. version of title). to a joyful, event. 

' This seems the best explanation of 3 Ps. cviii. 7-9. 

Ps. lx. 6-12, cviii. 7-13, which evidently 4 See Lectures III. and VII. 

contains the ancient Davidic Psalm of 5 Ps. lx. 9, cviii. 10. 

this period, afterwards accommodated in " 1 Kings xi. 15, 16. 

Ps. lx. 1-5, to a mournful, in Ps. cviii. 1-4 

86 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lbc*. xxiii. 

of Petra. The terror of his name ! was so great, that long 
afterwards nothing but the news of his death could encourage 
the exiled chief who had escaped from this eastern Glencoe to 
return to the haunts of his fathers. David himself came at the 
close of the campaign to arrange the conquered territory. All 
that remained of the nation became his slaves ; garrisons were 
established along the mountain passes, and David erected a 2 
pillar or other triumphal monument, to commemorate the 
greatness of the success. 

The fourth and fifth campaigns were reserved for the nation 
which had led to this wide-spreading war. The spring came, 
1 the time when kings go forth to 3 battle,' and the devoted 
Ammonites, now stripped of their allies on north and south, 
siege of were made over to the relentless Joab. Amongst the 
Rabbah. hills on the edge of the pastoral country, was ' the 
' great city,' ' Rabbah of the children of Ammon.' It consisted 
of a lower town and a citadel. The lower town was, probably 
from the residence of the kings, called the ' royal city,' and, 
from the unusual sight of a perennial 4 stream of water rising 
within the town and running through it, the ' city of waters.' 
The citadel, properly called ' Rabbah,' was on a steep cliff on 
the north side of the town. It contained the Temple of 
Moloch, the god or ' king ' of Ammon, to whom were made the 
sacrifices of children. The statue of the god was surmounted 
by a huge gold 5 crown, containing, according to later 6 tradi- 
tion, a precious stone of magnetic power. The country which 
he overlooked was regarded as his possession. His priests 
ranked above the nobles. The nobles took their rank as his 
servants. 7 

Against this city the whole force of Israel was gathered 
under Joab. The King's own guards 8 were there, and (to 
mark the magnitude of the crisis) the 9 Ark, for the first time 
since its return from the Philistine captivity, is recorded to have 

1 i Kings xi. 21 (Heb.) 6 2 Sam. xii. 30. 

2 2 Sam. viii. 13, 14 (LXX., Jerome, 6 See Molech in Diet, of Bible. 

Gesenius, EwaJd). For 'Syrians' 7 Jer. xlix. 1, 2, 3; Amos i. 15, where 

(Aram) should be read ' Edom.' See ' their king' refers to Moloch. 
Valley of Salt in Diet, of Bible. * 2 Sam. xi. 11, 17, 'the servants of 

3 2 Sam. xi. 1. ' David.' 

* See Sinai and Palestine, chap. VIII. * Ibid. xi. 11. 

user, xxm. HIS WARS. %7 

accompanied the expedition. The army was encamped in 
booths l round the city. For a whole year — probably from its 
perennial stream — it held out against the besiegers. From a 
particular part of the wall, constant sallies were made. On one 
occasion, for reasons at the time unknown to the army, Joab 
ordered a detachment headed by one of the bravest and best 
of the King's officers to come within the fatal range. The 
siege continued notwithstanding, and the lower town was at 
last taken. Then, with the true loyalty of his character, Joab 
sent a triumphant message to his uncle at Jerusalem, inviting 
him to come and finish the war for himself. ' I have fought 
' against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.' David 
was to do the rest, 'lest Joab take the city, and it be called 
' after his name.' The King was roused from his ease at Jeru- 
salem. The Ammonites with all their property had crowded 
into the upper fortress ; the one well within at last failed 2 and 
David entered the place in triumph. When they approached 
the statue of Moloch, there was, according to Jewish tradition, 
a panic in the ranks of the conquerors, till Ittai of Gath, 3 — 
doing what no Israelite could have done for fear of the pollu- 
tion — tore the vast golden covering from the idol's head, and 
brought it to David. It was purified, and from that time is de- 
scribed as the royal crown. — 'Thou hast set a crown of pure 
' gold upon his head.' 4 

So in all probability sang the Psalmist who celebrated this 
proud victory. He celebrated also its darker side. 'Thine 
' hand shall find out all Thine enemies : Thy right hand shall 
* find out those that hate Thee. Thou shalt make them as a 
1 fiery oven in the time of Thy wrath.' The expressions agree 
well with the cruel extermination of the conquered inhabitants 
by fire 5 and by strange and savage tortures— a vengeance to be 
accounted for, not excused, by the formidable resistance of the 

1 2 Sam. xi. n (Heb.). which seems indicated in Psalm xxi. 9, 

1 Jos. Ant. vii. 7, § 5. and 2 Sam. xii. 31, appears to have been a 

* Jerome, Qu. Heb. on 2 Sam. xii. 30, custom usual in Trans- Jordanic wars ijer. 
and 1 Chr. xx. 2. xlviii. 45, xlix. 2 ; Amos ii. t). A similar 

4 Ps. xxi. 3 ; Joseph. Ant. vii. 7, § 5. custom existed amon the Philistines 

• The burning alive of the captives (Judg. xv. 6). 

88 THE REIGN OF DAVID. lkct. xxiii. 

Thus ended the wars of David. It may be that the 18th 
Psalm was once again sung on this last deliverance ' from all 
' his enemies.' It may be that the 68th Psalm received some 
new accommodation to the triumphal return of the Ark l to 
Jerusalem. The 21st Psalm, at any rate, wound up the joyous 
festival, with the glad thought that ' the King shall joy in Thy 
1 strength, O Lord ; and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he 
* rejoice. Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not 
1 denied him the request of his lips.' So it was to all outward 
appearance, and the new son who was born to him at this time 
received the auspicious name of Solomon, as if to inaugurate 
the universal peace and prosperity which seemed to have set 
in. It remains for us to trace the deep canker that lay con- 
cealed under this outward show. 

„" H«ngstenberg on Ps, lxroi* 

lbct. xxiv. URIAH AND BATHSHEBA. 89 



The Psalms which, by their titles or contents, belong to this period, are : — 
For the affair of Uriah, Psalms xxxii., li. 
For the revolt of Absalom, Psalms iii. , iv., lxix. (?), cix. (?), cxliii. 

Three great external calamities are recorded in David's reign, 
which may be regarded as marking its beginning, middle, and 
close. A three years' l famine ; a three months' exile ; a three 
days' pestilence. Of these the first 2 has been already noticed 
in connexion with the last traces of the house of Saul. The 
third belongs to the last decline of his prosperity. But the 
second forms the culminating part of the group of incidents 
which contains the main tragedy of David's life. 

Amongst the thirty commanders of the thirty bands into 
which the Israelite army of David was divided, was the gallant 3 
Uriah and Uriah, like others of his officers, 4 a foreigner — a Hit- 
Bathsheba fa e His 5 name, however, and perhaps his manner 
of speech, 6 indicate that he had adopted the Jewish religion. 
He had married Bathsheba, a woman of extraordinary beauty, 
the daughter of Eliam, — one of his brother officers, 7 and possibly 
the son of Ahithophel. He was passionately devoted to his 
wife, and their union was celebrated in Jerusalem as one of 
peculiar tenderness. 8 He had a house in the city underneath 

1 2 Sam. xxiv. 13 (LXX.) ; 1 Chr. xxi. * Ittai of Gath, Ishbosheth the Ca- 
12. See Ewald, iii. 207. naanite, 2 Sam. xxiii. 8 (LXX.) ; Zelek 

2 That it took place early in David's the Ammonite, xxiii. 37, Ismaiah the 
reign appears (1) from the freshness of the Gibeonite, 1 Chr xii. 4. 

allusion to Saul's act, 2 Sam. xxi. 1, 2 ; * Uriah, Ur-Jah = ' Fire of Jehovah.' 

(2) from the apparent allusion to the * 2 Sam. xi. n. 

massacre of Saul's sons in 2 Sam. xvi. 8 ; 7 Ibid. xi. 3, xxiii. 34. Hence, per- 

(3) from the apparent connection with 2 haps, as Professor Blunt conjectures 
Sam. ix. (See Lecture XXI. Ewald, iii. (Coincidences, II. x.), Uriah's first ac- 
173, 1 74-) quaintance with Bathsheba. 

" 2 Sam. xxiii. 39 ; 1 Chr. xi. 41. e Ibid. xii. 3. 

90 THE FALL OF DAVID. UscT. £;..:7 

the palace, where, during his absence at the siege of Rabbah 
with Joab's army, his wife remained behind. From the roof of 
his palace, the King looked down on the cisterns which were 
constructed on the top of the lower houses of Jerusalem, and 
then conceived for Bathsheba the uncontrollable passion to 
which she offered no resistance. In the hope that the hus- 
band's return might cover his own shame, and save the reputa- 
tion of the injured woman, he sent back for Uriah from the 
camp, on the pretext of asking news of the war. The King 
met with an unexpected obstacle in the austere soldier-like 
spirit which guided the conduct of the sturdy Canaanite. He 
steadily refused to go home, or partake of any of the indulgences 
of domestic life whilst the Ark and the host were in booths and 
his comrades lying in the open air. 1 He partook of the royal 
hospitality, "but slept always in the guards' quarter 2 at the gate 
of the palace. On the last night of his stay, the King at a feast 
vainly endeavoured to entrap him by intoxication. The soldier 
was overcome by the debauch, but retained his sense of duty 
sufficiently to insist on sleeping at the palace. On the morning 
of the third day, David sent him back to the camp with a letter 
containing the command to Joab to contrive his destruction in 
the battle. 3 Probably to an unscrupulous soldier like Joab the 
absolute will of the King was sufficient. 

The device of Joab was, to observe the part of the wall of 
Rabbath-Ammon where the strongest force of the besieged was 
The murder congregated, and thither, as a kind of forlorn hope, 
of Uriah. t0 sen( } Tjri a h. A sally took place. Uriah with his 
soldiers advanced as far as the gate of the city, and was there 
shot down by the Ammonite archers. It seems as if it had 
been an established maxim of Israelitish warfare not to ap- 
proach the wall of a besieged city ; and one instance of the 
fatal result was quoted, as if 4 proverbially, against it— the 

1 2 Sam. xi. n. The words are ad- as preserved in 2 Sam. xi. 

mirably applied by Oliver Cromwell in a * This appears from the fact that Joab 

rebuke to his son Richard (Carlyle's exactly anticipates what the King will say 

Cromwell, Letter clxxviii.). when he hears of the disaster. See the 

2 Ibid. 9. Comp. Neh. iii. 16. additions of the LXX. to verse 22, with 

3 Josephus {Ant. vii. 7, § 1) adds, that the remarks of Thenius thereon. See 
he gave as a reason an imaginary offence Lecture XV., vol. i. p. 314. 

of Uriah. None such appears in the letter 

fcBcr. xxiv. THE MURDER OF URIAH. 91 

sudden and ignominious death of Abimelech at Thebez which 
cut short the hopes of the then rising monarchy. Just as Joab 
had forewarn'ed the messenger, the King broke into a furious 
passion on hearing of the loss, and cited, almost in the very 
words which Joab had predicted, the case of Abimelech. The 
messenger, as instructed by Joab, calmly continued, and ended 
the story with the words : ' Thy servant also, Uriah, the Hittite, 
is dead/ In a moment David's anger is appeased. He sends 
an encouraging message to Joab on the unavoidable chances 
of war, and urges him to continue the siege. Uriah had fallen 
unconscious of his wife's dishonour. She hears of her husband's 
death. The narrative gives no hint as to her shame or remorse. 
She ' mourned ' with the usual signs of grief as a widow j and 
then became the wife of David. 1 

Thus far the story belongs to the usual crimes of an Oriental 
despot. Detestable as was the double guilt of this dark story, 
we must still remember that David was not an Alfred or a Saint 
Louis. He was an Eastern king, exposed to all the temptations 
of a king of Ammon or Damascus then, of a sultan of Bagdad 
or Constantinople in modern times. What follows, however, 
could have been found nowhere in the ancient world but in the 
Jewish monarchy. 

A year had passed ; the dead Uriah was forgotten ; the child 
of guilt was born in the royal house, and loved with all the 
passionate tenderness of David's paternal heart. Suddenly the 
Prophet Nathan appears before him. He comes as if to claim 
redress for a wrong in humble life. It was the true mission of 
the Prophets, as champions of the oppressed, in the courts of 
Apologue of kings. It was the true Prophetic spirit that spoke 
Nathan. through Nathan's mouth. The apologue of the rich 
man and the ewe lamb has, besides its own intrinsic tenderness, 
a supernatural elevation which is the best sign of true Revela- 
tion. It ventures to disregard all particulars, and is content to 
aim at awakening the general sense of outraged justice. It 
fastens on the essential guilt of David's sin-— not its sensuality, 
or its impurity, so much as its meanness and selfishness. It 
rouses the King's conscience by that teaching described 2 as 

1 2 Sam. xi. 27. • 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. 

92 THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. xtit. 

especially characteristic of prophecy, making manifest his own 
sin in the indignation which he has expressed at the sin of 
another. Thou art the man is, or ought to be, the conclusion, 
expressed or unexpressed, of every practical sermon. A true 
description of a real incident — if like in its general character, 
however unlike to our own case in all the surrounding parti- 
culars — strikes home with greater force than the sternest per- 
sonal invective. This is the mighty function of all great works 
of fiction. They have in their power that indirect appeal to the 
conscience of which the address of Nathan is the first and most 
exquisite example. His parable is repeated, in actual words, in 
a famous romance which stirred the imagination of our fathers, 
and is the key-note of other tales of a like genius which have 
no less stirred our own. 

As the apologue of Nathan reveals the true Prophet, so the 
Psalms of David reveal the true Penitent. Two ■ at least — the 
Repentance 5 ist anc * 3 2n d — can hardly belong to any other 
of David, period. He has fallen. That abyss which yawns by 
the side of lofty genius and strong passion had opened and 
closed over him. The charm of his great name is broken. 
But the sudden revulsion of feeling shows that his conscience 
was not dead. Our reverence for David is shaken, not de- 
stroyed. The power of his former character was still there. 
It was overpowered for the time, but it was capable of being 
roused again. ' The great waterfloods ' had burst over him, 
but ' they had not come nigh ' to his inmost soul. 2 The 
Prophet had by his opening words, ' Give me a judgment,' 3 
thrown him back upon his better nature. There was still an 
eye to see, there was still an ear to hear. His indignation 
against the rich man of the parable showed that the moral 
sense was not wholly extinguished. The instant recognition of 
his guilt breaks up the illusion of months. ' I have sinned 
* against the Lord.' The sense of his injustice to man waxes 
faint before his sense of sin against God. 'Against Thee, 
1 Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight. ' 4 

1 Ewald, while acknowledging the Psalm suits no other time or person 

Davidic origin of the 32nd, doubts the 51st. equally. 2 Ps. xxxii. 6. 

But if verses 18 and 19 can be regarded as 3 2 Sam. xii. 1 (Vulgate and Thenius). 

a later accommodation the rest of the 4 Ps. U. 4. For the legends of this 

lect. xxiv. HIS REPENTANCE. 93 

This is the peculiar turn given to his confession by the eleva- 
tion and force of his religious convictions. He is worn away 
by grief ; day and night he feels a mighty Hand heavy upon 
him ; his soul is parched up as with the drought of an Eastern 
summer. 1 But he rises above the present by his passionate 
hopes for the future. His prayers are the simple expressions 
of one who loathes sin because he has been acquainted with it, 
who longs to have truth in his innermost self, to have hands 
thoroughly clean, to make a fresh start in life with a spirit, 2 
free, and just, and new. This is the true Hebrew, Christian, 
idea of ' Repentance ' : — not penance, not remorse, not mere 
general confessions of human depravity, not minute confessions 
of minute sins dragged out by a too scrupulous casuistry, but 
change of life and mind. 

And in this, the crisis of his fate, and from the agonies of 
his grief, a doctrine emerges, as universal and as definite as 
was wrung out of the like struggles of the Apostle Paul. Now, 
if ever, would have been the time, had his religion led him in 
that direction, to have expiated his crime by the sacrifices of 
the Levitical ritual. It would seem as if for a moment such a 
solution had occurred to him. But he at once rejects it. He 
remains true to the Prophetic teaching. He knows that no 
substitution of dead victims, however costly, can fill up the 
gulf between himself and God. He knows that it is another 
and higher sacrifice which God approves. ' Thou desirest no 
1 sacrifice — else would I give it Thee ; but Thou delightest not 
1 in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit 
1 — a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not 
' despise.' 3 And even out of that broken and troubled heart, 
the dawn of a better life springs up. ' Be glad in the Lord, 
' and rejoice, O ye righteous ; and shout for joy, all ye that are 
1 true of heart.' 4 He is not what he was before — but he is far 
nobler and greater than many a just man who never fell and 
never repented. He is far more closely bound up with the 
sympathies of mankind than if he had never fallen. We can- 

incident, see Fabricius, Cod. Pseudepig. * Ps. li. 10, 11, 12. 

V. T. p. 1000 ; Koran, xxxviii. 20-24 ; s Ps. li. 16, 17. 

Weil's Legends, pp. 158-161, 167-170. ' Ps. xxxii. 11. 
1 Ps. xxxii. 4. 

94 THE FALL OF DAVID. lbct. xxiv. 

not wonder that a scruple should have arisen in recording so 
terrible a crime ; and accordingly the Chronicler throws a veil 
over the whole transaction. But the bolder spirit of the more 
Prophetic Books of Samuel has been justified by the enduring 
results. ' Who is called the man after God's own heart ? ' so 
the whole matter is summed up by a critic not too indulgent 
to sacred characters : — ' David, the Hebrew king, had fallen 

* into sins enough — blackest crimes — there was no want of sin. 
' And therefore the unbelievers sneer, and ask, " Is this your 
1 " man according to God's heart ? " The sneer, 1 must say, 

* seems to me but a shallow one. What are faults, what are 

* the outward details of a life, if the inner secret of it, the 
' remorse, temptations, the often baffled, never ended struggle 
' of it be forgotten ? . . . David's life and history as written 
' for us in those Psalms of his, I consider to be the truest 
' emblem ever given us of a man's moral progress and warfare 
1 here below. All earnest souls will ever discern in it the 
' faithful struggle of an earnest human soul towards what is 
1 good and best. Struggle often baffled — sore baffled — driven 
1 as into entire wreck ; yet a struggle never ended, ever with 
1 tears, repentance, true unconquerable purpose, begun anew.' l 

As in the Psalms, so in the history, the force of the original 
character gradually regains its lost ascendency. The passionate 
Death of grief of the King over the little infant born to Bath- 
his child. sheba is the first direct example of that depth of 
parental affection which fills so large a part of David's subse- 
quent story. His impenetrable seclusion during the illness of 
the child, the elder brothers gathering round to comfort him, 
the sudden revulsion of thought after the child's death, with 
one of those very few intimations of belief in another life that 
break through the silence of the Hebrew Scriptures, ' I shall 
1 go to him, but he shall not return to me ' — indicate that, 
through all his lapses into savage cruelty and reckless self- 
indulgence, there still remained a fountain of feeling within, as 
fresh and pure as when he fed his father's flocks and won the 
love of Jonathan. 

But. though the ' free spirit ' and ' clean heart ' of David 

1 Carlyle's Heroes and Hero- Worship, p. 7%. 

K5CT. xxiv. HIS FAMILY. 95 

came back ; though he rallied from the loss of his infant child ; 
though the birth of his next son was as auspicious 
of his as if nothing had occurred to trouble the victorious 

return from the conquest of Ammon ; the clouds 
from this time gathered over his fortunes, and henceforward 
'the sword never departed from his house.' l His crime itself 
had sprung from the lawless and licentious life, fostered by 
the polygamy which he had been the first to introduce into 
the monarchy ; and out of this same polygamy sprang the 2 
terrible retribution. 

In David's early youth he had, like his countrymen gene- 
rally, but one wife, the Princess Michal. Her ardent affection 
for him, his adventurous mode of winning her hand, 
the skill and courage with which she assisted his 
escape, — we have already seen. Then came her second 
marriage with her neighbour Phaltiel, and her exile with him 
across the Jordan. The sacred historian, whilst his allegiance 
is with David, yet cannot withhold a sigh of sympathy with the 
bitter lamentation of the injured husband when at Bahurim, 
on the border of their common tribe, she was parted from him 
to rejoin her former love. And this prepares us for a probable 
estrangement between Michal and David, and the final breach 
when her regal pride and his enthusiasm were brought into 
collision on the day of his entrance into Jerusalem. Whether, 
according to Jewish tradition, she returned to Phaltiel, or 
whether, as the sacred narrative seems to imply, she remained 
secluded within the palace, her influence henceforth ceased. 

The King's numerous concubines 3 were placed together in 
his own house. But the six wives whom he had brought from 
wives and h* s wanderings and from Hebron— to whom he had 
concubines. now a dd e d a seventh, Bathsheba (if not 4 more ) — lived 
with their children, each in separate establishments of their own. 5 

1 2 Sam. xii. 10. punishment. Contrast the far superior 

2 The Jewish tradition made the morality of the Biblical narrative, 
offence of David, which called down s 2 Sam. xv. 16. That the ten left be- 
these calamities, to be the fraud which hind in Jerusalem were but a part of the 
caused the massacre of the priests at Nob, whole establishment, appears from xix. 5. 
and interpreted the forty years of 2 Sam. * Ibid. v. 13 ; 1 Chr. xiv. 3. 

xv. 7 (Jerome, Qu. Neb. ad loc. ', to be s Ibid. xiii. 7, 20. 

it* interval between the crime and the 

96 THE FALL OF DAVID. lbct. xxiv. 

The Princes, whether the cousins or sons of the King, 
dwelt near, each with his royal mule. 1 The Princesses, as 
they moved to and fro amongst their companions, were dis- 
tinguished by the long 2 sleeves of their robes. The 
eldest born was Amnon, the son of Ahinoam, whom 
the King cherished as the heir to the throne, with a regard 
amounting almost to awe. 3 His intimate friend in the family 
was his cousin Jonadab, one of those 4 characters who in great 
houses pride themselves on being acquainted and on dealing 
with all the secrets of the family. This was one group in the 
royal circle. Another consisted of the two children of Maacah, 
the Princess of Geshur — Absalom and his sister 
Tamar, the only children of purely royal descent. In 
them the beauty for which the house of Jesse was renowned — 
David's brothers, David himself, Adonijah, Solomon — seemed 
to be concentrated. Absalom especially was in this respect 
the very flower and pride of the whole nation. ' In all Israel 
* there was none to be praised for his beauty,' like him. 'From 
1 the crown of his head to the sole of his foot there was no 
1 blemish in him.' The magnificence of his hair was something 
wonderful. Year by year or month by month its weight was 
known and counted. He had a sheep-farm near Ephraim or 
Ephron, a few miles to the north-east of Jerusalem, and an- 
other property near the Jordan Valley, where he had erected a 
monument to keep alive the remembrance of his name, from 
the melancholy feeling that the three sons who should have 
preserved his race had died before him. 5 He had, however, 
one daughter, who afterwards carried on the royal line in her 
child, called after her grandmother Maacah, and destined to 
play a conspicuous part in the history of the divided kingdom. 6 
This daughter was named Tamar, after her aunt. 
The elder Tamar, like her brother and her niece, was 
remarkable for her extraordinary beauty, 7 whence perhaps she 
derived her name, 'the palm-tree,' the most graceful of 
Oriental trees. For this, and for the homely art of making a 

1 2 Sam. xiii. 29. 4 Ibid. 4, 5, 32, 35. 

2 Ibid. 18 (Heb.) ; comp. Cant. v. 3, B Ibid. 23, xviii. 18. 
aad see Josephus, Ant. vii. 8, § 1. * See Lecture XXXVI. 

* 2 Sam. xiii. |, 21 (LXX). 7 2 Sam. xiii. i, xiv. 27. 

UK*, xxiv. HIS FAMILY. 97 

peculiar ] kind of cake, the Princess had acquired a renown 
which reached beyond the seclusion of her brother's house to 
all the circle of the royal family. 

There had been no cloud to disturb the serene relations of 
these different groups till the fatal day when Amnon — who had 
long wasted away, grown ' morning by morning paler and paler, 
'leaner and leaner,' from a desperate passion for his half sister 
Tamar — at last contrived, through the management of Jonadab, 
to accomplish his evil design. It was a moment long remem- 
bered as 'the beginning of woes,' when on his brutal hatred 
succeeding to his brutal passion, she found herself driven out 
of the house, and in a frenzy of grief and indignation tore off 
her sleeves from her royal robes, and, with her bare arms, 
clasped on her head the handfuls of ashes which she had 
snatched from the ground, and rushed to and fro through the 
streets screaming aloud, till she encountered her brother Absa- 
lom, and by him was taken into his own house. The Kir 
was afraid or unwilling to punish the crime of the heir to t! c 
throne. But on Absalom, as her brother, devolved, according 
to 2 Eastern notions, the dreadful duty, the frightful pleasure, 
Murder of °f avenging his sister's wrong. All the Princes were 
Amnon. invited by him to a pastoral festival at his country 
house, and there Amnon was slain by his brother's retainers. 
There was a general alarm. It would seem as if there was 
something desperate in Absalom's character which made those 
around him feel that there was an immeasurable vista of ven- 
geance opened. The other Princes rushed to their mules and 
galloped back to Jerusalem. The exaggerated news had 
already reached their father that all had perished. Jonadab 
reassured him. Still, the truth was dark enough j and in the 
presence of a loss which appears to have been deeply felt, not 
only by the King, but by the whole family, Absalom was forced 
to retire to exile beyond the limits of Palestine, to his father- 
in-law's court at Geshur. 

But, much as the King had loved Amnon, he loved Absa- 
lom more : Joab, always loyal, always ready, saw that he only 
needed an excuse to recall the absent son, and, by a succes- 

1 2 Sam. xiii. 6 8, 9. * A* in Gen. xxxiv. ?$, 31. 

98 THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. xxiv. 

sion of devices, Absalom was brought back first to his country 
Conspiracy property, and then to Jerusalem itself. l But mean- 
of Absalom. w hile he himself had been alienated from David by 
his long exile. He found himself virtually chief of the King's 
sons. That strength and violence of will which made him 
terrible among his brethren was now to vent itself against his 
father. He courted popularity by constantly appearing in the 
royal seat of judgment, in the gateway of Jerusalem. He 
affected regal state by the unusual display of chariots and war- 
horses, and runners to precede him. 2 Under pretext of a pil- 
grimage to Hebron, possibly as the Patriarchal sanctuary, per- 
haps only as his own birthplace, he there set up his claims to 
the throne, and became suddenly the head of a formidable 
revolt. In that ancient capital of the tribe of Judah, he would 
find adherents jealous of their own elected king's absorption 
into the nation at large. And not far off, amongst the southern 
hills, in Giloh, dwelt the renowned Ahithophel, wisest of all the 
Israelite statesmen. According to the traditional interpretation 
of several of the Psalms, 3 he was in the closest confidence with 
David, though, if we may trust the indications of the history, 
he had, through the wrongs of his granddaughter Bathsheba, 
the deepest personal reasons for enmity. 

It was apparently early on the morning of the day after he 
had received the news of the rebellion that the King left the 
city of Jerusalem. There is no single day 4 in the Jewish his- 
tory of which so elaborate an account remains as that which 
describes this memorable flight. There is none, we may add, 
that combines so many of David's characteristics — his patience, 
his high-spirited religion, his generosity, his calculation : we 
miss only his daring courage. Was it crushed, for the moment, 
by the weight ©f parental grief, or of bitter remorse ? 

Every stage of the mournful procession was marked by 
some peculiar incident. He left the city, accompanied by his 
whole court. None of his household remained, except ten of 

1 See the comments of Thenius. * Strange that it should have been 

2 2 Sam. xv. i. The date of ' forty reserved for Ewald (iii. 228 235) to 
'years' inverse 7 (see note 2, p. 95), have first brought out the si. igular interest 
should probably be 'four.' See Ewald, of this day. In what follows I am indebted 
iii. 217, 227. to him at every turn. 

1 Pi. xli. 9 ; Iv. 12-14, M« 

imct. xxit. HIS FLIGHT. 99 

the women of the harem, whom he sent back, apparently to 
occupy the Palace. The usual array of mules and asses .vas 
Flight of left behind. They were all on foot. The first halt 
ravid. was at a S p 0t on ^g ou t s kirts of the city, known as 
* the Far l House.' The second was by a solitary olive-tree 2 
that stood by the road to the wilderness of the Jordan. Here 
the long procession formed itself. The body-guard of Philis- 
tines moved at the head : then followed the mass of the regu- 
lar soldiery : next came the high officers of the court ; and 
last, immediately before the King himself, the six hundred 
warriors, his ancient 3 companions, with their wives and chil- 
dren. Amongst these David observed Ittai of Gath, 
and with the nobleness of his better mind entreated 
the Philistine chief not to peril his own or his countrymen's 
lives in the service of a fallen and a stranger sovereign. But 
Ittai declared his resolution (with a fervour which almost in- 
evitably recalls a like profession made almost on the same 
spot to the Great Descendant of David 4 centuries afterwards) 
to follow him in life and in death. The King accepted his 
faithful service ; and calling him to his side, he advanced to 
the head of the march, and passed over the deep ravine of 
the Kidron, followed close by the guards and their children. 
It was the signal that he was determined on flight ; and a wail 
of grief rose from the whole procession, which seemed to be 
echoed back by mountain and valley, as if 'the whole land 
' wept with a loud voice.' At this point they were overtaken 
by another procession, consisting of the Levites and the two 
Priests, Zadok and Abiathar, bringing the ark from its place on 
the hill 5 of Zion to accompany the King in his flight. There 
is a difference in the conduct of the rival Priests which seems 
to indicate the different shades of their loyalty. Za- 
dok remained by the ark ; Abiathar went apart on 
the mountain 6 side, apparently waiting to watch the stream of 

1 2 Sam. xv. 17 ; A. V. 'a place that s 2 Sam. xv. 24, anb fiaiQap (LXX.). 

'was far off.' s According to the Jewish tradition, to 

a 2 Sam. xv. 18 (LXX.). consult the Divine oracle on the hilltop, 

3 Ewald, iii. 177 note. According to which was supposed to have returned the 

the probable reading of Gibborim for answer which guided David's refusal to 

Gittitn. allow the progress of the ark (Jerome, Qu. 

* Matt, xx vi. 35. Hcb. ad loc). 


100 THE FALL OF DAVID. lbct. xxrr. 

followers as it flowed past. With a spirit worthy of the King 
who was Prophet as well as Priest, David refused this new aid. 
He would not use the ark as a charm ; he had too 
much reverence for it to risk it in his personal peril. 
He reminded Zadok that he too by his prophetic insight ought 
to have known better. ' Thou a seer ! ' It was a case where 
the agility of their two sons was likely to be of more avail than 
the officious zeal of the chief Priests. To them he left the 
charge of bringing him tidings from the capital, and passed 
onwards to the Jordan. Another burst of wild lament broke 
out as the procession turned up the mountain pathway ; the 
King leading the long dirge which was taken up all down the 
slope of Olivet. The King drew his cloak over his head, 1 and 
the rest did the same ; he only distinguished by his unsandalled 
feet. At the summit of the mountain, consecrated by one of 
the altars in that age common on the hilltops of Palestine, and 
apparently used habitually by David, they were met 
by Hushai the Archite, 'the friend,' as he was offi- 
cially called, of the King. The priestly 2 garment, which he 
wore after the fashion, as it would seem, of David's chief 
officers, was torn, and his head was smeared with dust, in the 
agony of his grief. In him David saw his first gleam of hope. 
For warlike purposes he was useless ; but of political stratagem 
he was a master. A moment before, the tidings had come of 
the treason of Ahithophel. To frustrate his designs, Hushai 
was sent back, just in time to meet Absalom arriving from 
Hebron. 3 

It was noon when David passed over the mountain top, and 

now, as Jerusalem was left behind, and the new prospect opened 

before him, two fresh characters appeared, both in 

connection with the hostile tribe of Benjamin, whose 

territory they were entering. One of them was Ziba, slave of 

1 Compare 2 Sam. xix. 4, Ezek. xii. 12, tionable act in modern times. Sir Samuel 
and Mark xiv. 72 {iiri^aXhv t^Aaie). Morland, Secretary of State to Cromwell, 

2 2 Sam. xv. 32 ; Cutatuth ; tov in describing his betrayal of his master to 
XiTcora ; A. V. 'coat.' Charles II., says, ' I called to remembrance 

3 Hushai's conduct is certainly not the ' Hushai's behaviour towards Absalom, 
model of Christian uprightness. It is ' which I found not at all blamed in Holy 
therefore curiously instructive to see it ' Writ, and yet his was a larger step than 
made the warrant of a similarly qucs- ' mine.' 

IMct. xxtv. HIS FLIGHT. 101 

Mephibosheth, taking advantage of the civil war to make his 
own fortunes, and bringing the story that Mephibosheth had 
gone over to the rebels, in the hope of a restoration of the 
dynasty of his grandfather Saul. The King gratefully accepted 
his offering, took the stores of bread, dates, 1 grapes, and wine 
for his followers, and, in a moment of indignation, granted to 
Ziba the whole property of Mephibosheth. At Bahurim, also 
on the downward pass, he encountered another member of the 
fallen dynasty, Shimei, the son of Gera. His house 
was just within the borders of Benjamin, on the same 
spot where — apparently for this reason — Michal, the princess 
of that same house, had left her husband, Phaltiel. All the 
fury of the rival dynasties, with all the foul names which long 
feuds had engendered, burst forth as the two parties here came 
into collision. On the one side the fierce Benjamite saw ' the 
' Man of Blood,' stained, as it must have seemed to him, with 
the slaughter of Abner and Ishbosheth and of his seven kinsmen 
whose cruel death at Gibeon was fresh in the national recollec- 
tion. On the other side the wild sons of Zeruiah saw in Shimei 
one of the ' dead dogs ' 2 or ' dogs' heads,' according to the offen- 
sive language bandied to and fro amongst the political rivals of 
that age. A deep ravine parted the King's march from the house 
of the furious Benjamite. But along the ridge he ran, throwing 
stones as if for the adulterer's punishment, or, when he came to 
a patch of dust on the dry hill side, taking it up, and scattering 
it over the royal party below, with the elaborate curses of which 
only Eastern partisans are fully masters - curses which David 
never forgot, 3 and of which, according to the Jewish tradition, 
every letter 4 was significant. The companions of David, who 
felt an insult to their master as an injury to themselves, could 
hardly restrain themselves. Abishai — with a fiery zeal, which 
reminds us of the sons of Thunder centuries later- would fain 
have rushed across the defile, and cut off the head of the blas- 
pheming rebel. One alone retained his calmness. The King, 
with a natural depth of feeling, bade them remember that after 

1 2 Sam. xvi. i (LXX.). 3 i Kings ii. 8. 

' 2 Sam. xvi. 9 ; comp. 1 Sam. xxiv. * Jerome, Qu. Heb. ad loc. 

14 ; 2 Sam. iii. 8. 

102 THE FALL OF DAVID. iect. xxiy 

the desertion of his favourite son anything was tolerable, and 
added the hope — natural in ancient times — that the curses of 
the Benjamite might divert some portion of the Divine rnger, 
coming, as they seemed to him, after the Oriental manner of 
speech, direct from God Himself. 1 The exiles passed on, and 
in a state of deep exhaustion reached the Jordan valley, and 
there rested after the long eventful 2 day, at the ford or 3 bridge 
of the river. Amongst the thickets of the Jordan, the asses of 
Ziba were unladen, and the weary travellers refreshed themselves, 
and waited for tidings from Jerusalem. It must have been long 
after nightfall, that the joyful sound was heard of the two youths, 
sons of the High Priests, bursting in upon the encampment, 
with the news from the capital. 

Absalom had arrived from Hebron almost immediately after 
David's departure ; and, by the advice of Ahithophel, took the 
Counsel of desperate step — the decisive assumption, according to 
Ahithophel. Eastern usage, of royal rights — of seizing what re- 
mained of the royal harem, in the most public r.nd offensive 
manner The next advice was equally bold. The aged counsel- 
lor offered, himself, that very night, to pursue and cut off the 
King before he had crossed the Jordan. That single death 
would close the civil war. The nation would return to her 
legitimate Prince, as a bride to her 4 husband. But now an- 
other adviser had appeared on the stage ; Hushai, 
fresh from the top of Olivet, with his false professions 
of rebellion, with his ingenious scheme for saving his royal master. 
He drew a picture of the extreme difficulty of following Ahitho- 
phePs counsel, and sketched the plan of a general campaign. 
The dread of David's activity and courage was the main argu- 
ment, by which, even in this decline of his fortunes, the treache- 
rous adviser swayed the mind of the rebel Prince. It was urged 
with all the force of parable and poetry. The she-bear in the 
open field robbed of her whelps, the wild 5 boar in the Jordan 
valley, would not be fiercer than the old King and his faithful 
followers. David, as of old, would be concealed in some deep 

' ' The Lord hath said unto him, a 2 Sam. xvi. 14, xvii. 22. 

' Curse David . . . Let him curse, for the s Joseph. Ant. vii. 11, § 2. 

' Lord hath bidden him.' (2 Sam. xvi. 10, * 2 Sam. xvii. 3 (LXX.). 

»^.) ■ 2 Sam. xvii. 8 (LXX.). 

lkct. xxiv. HIS FLIGHT. I03 

cave, or on some inaccessible hill, and all pursuit would be as 
vain as that of Saul on the crags of Engedi. l An army must 
be got together capable of submerging him as in a shower of 
dew, or of dragging the fortress in which he may have been en- 
trenched, stone by stone, into the valley. Absalom fell into 
the snare, and delayed his pursuit. The emissaries of Hushai 
were close at hand. On the eastern side of Jerusalem, perhaps 
immediately underneath the walls, was a spring, known as the 
' fullers' spring/ 2 where the two sons of Zadok and Abiathar 
lay ensconced, waiting for their orders for the King. Thither, 
like the women of Jerusalem now, came, probably as if to wash 
or to draw water, the female slaves of their fathers' house, with 
the secret tidings which they were to convey, urging the King 
to immediate flight. They crossed as fast as their swift feet 
could carry them over Mount Olivet. Absalom had already 
caught sight of them, and his runners were hard upon their 
track. Aside, even into the village of Bahurim, the hostile vil- 
lages of Shimei and Phaltiel, they darted. In it was a friendly 
house which they sought. In its court they climbed down a 
well, over the mouth of which their host's wife spread a cloth 
with a heap of corn, and by an equivocal reply turned aside 
the pursuers. The youths hastened down the pass, woke up 
the King from his sleep, called upon him to cross ' the water,' 3 
and before the break of day the whole party were in safety on 
the farther side. 

It has been conjectured with much probability that, as the 
first sleep of that evening was commemorated in the 4th Psalm, 
so in the 3rd is expressed the feeling of David's thankfulness 
at the final close of these twenty-four hours of which every de- 
tail has been handed down, as if with the consciousness of their 
singular importance. He had ' laid him down in peace ' that 
night ■ and slept ; ' for in that great defection of man, ' the 
1 Lord alone had caused him to dwell in safety. He had laid 
* down and slept and awaked, for the Lord had sustained him.' 

1 2 Sam. xvii. 9-13. tumary o/tfu Biblt. 

* En-rogel, either the present 'well of ' So the river is apparently called, both 

' Joab,' or more probably the ' Spring of in 2 Sam. xvii. 20 and 21. 
' th« Virgin.' See En-roghl, in Die- 

104 THE FA]L L OF t)AVID. lecT. xxiv. 

The tradition of the Septuagint ascribes the 143rd Psalm to the 
time 'when his son was pursuing him.' Some at least of its 
contents might well belong to that night. ' Enter not into 
1 judgment with Thy servant, O Lord, for in Thy sight shall no 
' man living be justified.' ' Cause me to hear Thy lovingkind- 
4 ness in the morning ; for in Thee do I trust ; cause me to 
' know the way wherein I should walk j for I lift up my soul 
1 unto Thee.' l 

There is another group of Psalms — the 41st, the 55 th, the 
69th, and the 109th, in which a long popular belief has seen an 
Death of amplification of David's bitter cry, ' O Lord, turn the 
Ahithophei. < counsel of Ahithophel into 2 foolishness.' Many of 
the circumstances agree. The dreadful imprecations in those 
Psalms — unequalled for vehemence in any other part of the 
sacred writings — correspond with the passion of David's own 
expressions. The greatness, too, of Ahithophel himself in the 
history is worthy of the importance ascribed to the object of 
those terrible maledictions. That oracular wisdom, which made 
his house a kind of 3 shrine, seems to move the spirit of the 
sacred writer with an involuntary admiration. Everywhere he 
is treated with a touch of awful reverence. When he dies, the 
interest of the plot ceases, and his death is given with a stately 
grandeur, quite unlike the mixture of ridicule or contempt 
which has sometimes gathered round the end of those whom 
the religious sentiment of mankind has placed under its ban. 
' When he saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled 
' his ass ' — the ass on which he, like all the magnates of Israel 
except the royal family, made his journeys, — he mounted the 
southern hills, in which his native city lay, ' and put his house- 
' hold in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried,' 
not like an excommunicated outcast, but like a venerable 
Patriarch, 'in the sepulchre of his father.' 

With the close of that day, so crowded with incidents, so 
vividly recorded, a cloud rests on the subsequent history of the 
rebellion. For three 4 months longer it seems to have lasted. 
Absalom was formally anointed King. 5 Amasa — his cousin, 

1 Ps. cxliii. 2, 8. a 2 Sam. xv. 31. 3 Ibid. xvi. 23. 

* a Sam. xxiv. 13 (Ewald, iii. 235). s 2 Sam. xix. 10. 



but by his father's side of wild l Arabian olood — took the com- 
mand of the army, which, according to Hushai's counsel, had 
been raised from the whole country, and with this he crossed 
the Jordan in pursuit of the King. David meantime was secure 
in the fortress of Mahanaim, the primeval Trans-Jordanic sanc- 
tuary, 2 which had formerly sheltered the rival house of Saul. 
David at Three potentates of that pastoral district came for- 
Mahanaim. war d a t once to his support. Shobi, the son of David's 
ancient friend Nahash, king of Amnion, perhaps put by David 3 
in his brother Hanun's place ; Machir, the son of Ammiel, the 
former protector of Mephibosheth ; Barzillai, an aged chief of 
vast wealth and influence, perhaps the father of Adriel, the hus- 
band of Merab. 4 Their connection with David's enemies, 
whether of the house of Saul or of Ammon, was overbalanced 
by earlier alliances with David, or by their respect for himself 
personally. They brought, with the profuse liberality of Arabs, 
the butter, cheese, wheat, barley, flour, parched corn, beans, 
lentils, pulse, honey, sheep, with which the forests and pastures 
of Gilead abounded, and on which the historian dwells as if he 
had been himself one of ' the hungry and weary and thirsty ' 
who had revelled in the delightful stores thus placed before 
them. ' The fearfulness and trembling ' which had been upon 
David were now over. He had fled ' on the wings of a dove 
' far away into the wilderness,' and was at rest. His spirit 
revived within him. He arranged his army into three divisions. 
Joab and Abishai commanded two. The third, where we 
might have expected to find Benaiah, was under the faithful 
Ittai. For a moment, the King wished to place himself at their 
head. But his life was worth % ten thousand men,' and he 
accordingly remained behind in the fortress. The first battle 
took place in the 'forest of Ephraim.' The exact spot of the 
conflict, the origin of the name, 5 so strange on the east of the 

1 i Chr. ii. 17. history is called Ephron (1 Mace. v. 46 ; 

2 See Lectures III. and XXI. 2 Mace. xii. 27). The same transforma- 
1 lerome (Qu. Heb. on 2 Sam. xvii. 27). tion from Ephrain to Ephron actually 

* 1 Sam. xviii. 19 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 8. exists in the text of the Bible in the case 

* Unless it be connected with the of a town on the west of the Jordan. See 
strong fortress, apparently in the neigh- 2 Chr. xiii. 19 (Heb.), and article Ephrain 
bourhood of Bethshean, which in the later in Diet, of the Bible. 

106 THE FALL OF DAVID. isct. xxiv. 

Jordan, the details of the engagement, are alike unknown. We 
see only the close, which has evidently been preserved from the 
mournful interest which it awakened in the national mind. In 
the interlacing thickets, so unusual on the west of the Jordan, 
so abundant on the east, which the Ammonite wars had made 
familiar to David's veterans, the host of Absalom lost its way. 
Absalom riding at full speed on his royal mule suddenly met a 
Death of detachment of David's army, and darting aside through 
Absalom. tf\e wood, was caught by the head — possibly entangled 
by his long l hair — between the thick boughs of an overhanging 
tree, known by the name of ' The Great Terebinth.' 2 He was 
swept into the branches, and there remained suspended. None 
of the ordinary soldiers ventured to attack the helpless Prince. 
Joab alone took upon himself the responsibility of breaking 
David's orders. He and his ten attendants formed a circle 
round the gigantic tree, enclosing its precious victim, and first 
by his three pikes, then by their swords, accomplished the 
bloody work. Hard by was a well-known ditch or pit, of vast 
dimensions. Into this the corpse was thrown, and covered by 
a huge mound of stones. Mussulman legends represent hell 
as yawning at the moment of his death beneath the feet of the 
unhappy Prince. The modern Jews, 3 as they pass the monu- 
ment in the valley of the Kidron, to which they have given his 
name, have buried its sides deep in the stones which they 
throw against it in execration. Augustine dooms him to perdi- 
tion, as a type of the Donatists. But the sacred writer is moved 
only to deep compassion. The thought of that sad death of 
the childless Prince, of the desolate cairn in the forest instead 
of the honoured grave that he had designed for himself in the 
King's dale, — probably beside his beloved sheep walks on the 
hills of Ephraim, — blots out the remembrance of the treason 
and rebellion,, and every detail is given to enhance the pathos 
of the scene which follows. 

The King sate waiting for tidings between the two gates 
which connected the double city of the ' Two Camps ' of 

1 Josephus, Ant. vii. 10, § 2. have been erected between his capture 

2 2 Sam. xviii. 9 (Heb. and LXX.). and his death (Jerome,. Qu. Heb. ad loc.). 

3 They represent the monument to 




Mahanaim. 1 In the tower above the gates, as afterwards at 
Jezreel, stood a sentinel looking out for news. Two messengers, 
each endeavouring to outstrip the other, were seen running 
from the forest. The first who arrived was Ahimaaz, the fleet 
son of Zadok, whose peculiar mode of running 2 was known far 
and wide through the country. He had been entreated by 
Joab not to make himself the bearer of tidings so mournful, 
and — eager as he had been to fulfil his character of a good 
messenger, and dexterously as he had outstripped his forerunner 
by the choice of his route 3 — when it came to the point his 
heart failed, and he spoke only of the strange confusion in 
which he had left the army. At this moment the other mes- 
senger, a stranger — probably an Ethiopian 4 slave, perhaps one 
of Joab's ten attendants — burst in, and abruptly revealed the 
fatal event. The passionate burst of grief which followed is 
one of the best proofs of the deep and genuine affection of 


By Henry W. Longfellow. 

Is it so far from thee 
Thou canst no longer see 
In the Chamber over the Gate 
That old man desolate, 
Weeping and wailing sore 
For his son who is no more ? 
O Absalom, my son ! 

Is it so long ago 
That cry of human woe 
From the walled city came, 
Calling on his dear name, 
That it has died away 
In the distance of to-day ? 
O Absalom, my son ! 

There is no far nor near, 
There is neither there nor here, 
There is neither soon nor late, 
In that Chamber over the Gate, 
Nor any long ago 
To that cry of human woe, 
O Absalom, my son ! 

From the ages that are past 
The voice comes like a blast, 
Over seas that wreck and drown, 
Over tumult of traffic and town ; 

And from ages yet to be 
Come the echoes back to me, 
O Absalom, my son ! 

Somewhere at every hour 
The watchman on the tower 
Looks forth, and sees the fleet 
Approach of the hurrying feet 
Of messengers, that bear 
The tidings of despair. 

O Absalom, my son ! 

He goes forth from the door, 
Who shall return no more. 
With him our joy departs ; 
The light goes out in our hearts ; 
In the Chamber over the Gate 
We sit disconsolate. 

O Absalom, my son ! 

That 'tis a common grief 
Bringeth but slight relief; 
Ours is the bitterest loss, 
Ours is the heaviest cross ; 
And for ever the cry will be 
1 Would God I had died for thee, 
O Absalom, my son ! ' 
2 2 Sam. xviii. 27, and possibly 23 
(Ewald, iii. 237). 

* 2 Sam. xviii. 23, but the phrase is very 

* 'The Cushite,' 2 Sam, xviii. 21, 22, 
31 1 32, 33 (Heb.). 

lo8 THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. XXiV. 

David's character. He rushed into the watchman's chamber 
over the gateway, and eight times over repeated the wail of 
grief for Absalom his son. It was the belief of the more merci- 
ful of the Jewish doctors that at each cry, one of the seven gates 
of hell rolled back, and that, with the eighth, the lost spirit of 
Absalom was received into the place of Paradise. l The sorrow 
of David did not confine itself to words. He could not forget 
the hand which had slain his son. The immediate effect of his 
indignation was a solemn vow to supersede Joab by Amasa, 
and in this was laid the lasting breach between himself and his 
nephew, which neither the one nor the other ever forgave. 2 His 
grief met with a deep response in the hearts of his subjects, 3 who 
could not refrain from joining in his lament over the winning 
and beautiful creature, whose charm outlived the shock even of 
ungrateful, ungenerous, and unsuccessful rebellion. 

But stronger even than his tenderness for Absalom, was the 

love of David for his people, and of his people for David. He 

acknowledged the force of Joab's entreaty to show 

The return. ,. ._ . ... XT T . 

himself once more in public. He sent to Jerusalem 
to invoke the sympathy of his native tribe through the two 
chief Priests. He came down from the eastern hills to the 
banks of the Jordan. A ferry boat or a bridge 4 of boats was 
in readiness to convey the King across the river. On that 
bridge, foremost in his professions of loyalty, was the savage 
Shimei of Bahurim, 'first of the house of Joseph,' who there 
and then, grovelling in penitence, won from David, in spite of 
Abishai's ever-recurring anger, the oath of protection, which, 
in word at least, the King kept sacred to the end of his life. 
Next came the unfortunate Mephibosheth, squalid with the 
squalor of his untrimmed 5 moustache, his clothes unwashed, 
his nails unpared, his long hair flowing 6 unshorn, and his lame 
feet 7 untended, since he had wrapt himself in deep mourning 
on the day of his benefactor's fall. By the judgment— fair or 
unfair —between him and Ziba, was concluded the final amnesty 

1 2 Sam. xviii. 33, xix. 4. Bartolocci's 5 2 Sam. xix. 24 (Heb. and LXX.) ; 
Bibliotheca Rabbinica (ii. 127, 162), A. V. ' beard.' 

quoted by Professor Plumptre {Revolt of B Ibid, and Joseph. Ant. vii. 11, § 3. 

Absa'om, in Good Words, March, 1864). ' 'Without his wooden feet,' says the 

2 2 Sam. xix. 13. * Ibid. 2, 3. Jewish tradition (Jerome, Qu. Heb. on a 
4 Ibid. 18 ; Jos. Ant. vii. 11, § a. Sam. xix. 24). 

lbct. xxiv. HIS RETURN. 109 

with the house of Saul. 1 There, as he turned away from the 
wild and hospitable chiefs who had befriended him in his exile, 
the King parted reluctantly from the aged Gileadite Barzillai, 
whom he vainly tried to tempt from his native forests to the 
business and the pleasures of the court of Jerusalem. Chim- 
ham, the son of Barzillai, took his father's place, and, with his 
descendants, long remained in Western Palestine a witness of 
the loyalty of the Eastern tribes. 2 On the other side of the 
river stood in order the chiefs of Judah, summoned by Zadok 
and Abiathar, to welcome back the ' flesh of their flesh and 
' bone of their bones,' whom they had basely deserted. With 
them, the King entered his capital and the Restoration of 
David was accomplished. 3 

Three elements had been at work in the insurrection — the 
personal struggle of Absalom to gain the throne, supported by 
the tribe of Judah ; the still lingering hopes of the house of 
Saul and of the tribe of Benjamin, as indicated in the suspicions 
entertained against Mephibosheth, and the curses uttered by 
Shimei ; and the deep-rooted feeling of Ephraim and the 
northern tribes against Judah, as intimated in the campaign 
on the other side of the Jordan. Of these the first was 
now entirely extinguished. But the two latter — never to be 
entirely extinguished — burst into flame again under the guid- 
ance of Sheba, a Benjamite from the mountains of Ephraim. 
He is described as 'a man of Belial,' — a man of naught — the 
usual term of invective cast to and 4 fro between the various 
parties in the state. But he must have been already well 
known ; the effect produced by his appearance was immense. 
The occasion which he seized was the loyal emulation of the 
northern and southern tribes in the great assembly gathered at 
Gilgal for the return of the King. He at that critical moment, 
from the midst of the crowd, blew his trumpet, and raised the 
cry of revolt, 'To your tents, O Israel.' So slight was the 
coherence of the tribes to the new capital, that the whole of 

1 See Lecture XXI. with which Dryden has made the story of 

* Jer. xli. 17. See Lecture XXVI. 'Absalom and Ahithophel ' the basis of his 

3 To many English readers, the events political poem on the court of King Charle* 

and names of this period have acquired a II. 

double interest from the power and skill * 2 Sam. xx. 1 : see xvi. 7, xxii. 5, &c. 

IIO THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. xxiv. 

Palestine, north of Judah, followed him. It was in fact all but 
an anticipation of the disruption under Jeroboam. What the 
King feared l was his occupation of the fortified towns. It was 
in the chase after Sheba, as he went in undisturbed progress 
through the centre of the country, that Joab accomplished his 
cherished design. He had lost his high post as commander- 
in-chief. In the heat of the pursuit, he encountered his rival 
Amasa, more leisurely engaged in the same quest. At the 
1 great stone ' in Gibeon, the cousins met. Amasa rushed into 
the treacherous embrace to which Joab invited him, and Joab, 
Murder of w ^ tn tne same su dden stroke that had dealt the death- 
Amasa. wound of Abner, plunged his sword, which, whether 
by design or accident, protruded from its sheath, deep into 
Amasa's bowels. Amasa fell : Joab and Abishai hurried on in 
their pursuit. The dead body lay soaking in a pool of blood 
by the road-side. As the army came up, every one halted at 
the ghastly sight, till the attendant whom Joab had left dragged 
it aside, and threw a cloth over it. Then, as if the spell was 
broken, they followed Joab, now once more captain of the host. 
He, when they overtook him, presented an aspect long after- 
wards remembered with horror. The blood 2 of Amasa had 
spurted all over the girdle to which the sword was attached, 
and the sandals on his feet were red with the stains left by the 
falling corpse. But, though this was not forgotten by the 
court or camp, for the moment all were absorbed in the chase 
after the rebels. It seems to have been Sheba's intention to 
establish himself in the fortress of Abel- Beth- Maacah, in the 
north-west extremity of Palestine, possibly allied to the cause 
of Absalom through his mother Maacah, whose name it bore, 
and in whose kingdom it was situated. It was a city famous 
for the prudence of its inhabitants. That prudence was put to 
the test on the present occasion. The same appeal was 
addressed to Joab's sense of the evils of an endless civil war, 
as before by 3 Abner. He demanded only the head of the 
rebel chief. It was thrown over the wall to him, and he re- 

1 2 Sam. xx. 6. the Bibie, on Arms. 

2 Ibid, io, 12, compared with i Kings 3 2 Sam ii. 26. 
ii. 5. See Mr. Grove, in Dictionary of 

lbct. xxiv. THE CENSUS. 1 1 1 

tired, and the great catastrophe of the disruption was averted 
for another generation. 

The closing period of David's life is marked by one more 

dark calamity. The occasion which led to this was the census 

of the people taken by Toab at the King's orders : ! 

The Census. l L * * , , , • 

an attempt not unnaturally suggested by the increase 
of his power, but implying a confidence and pride alien to the 
spirit inculcated on the kings of the Chosen People. The 
apprehension of a Nemesis on any overweening display of 
prosperity, if not consistent with the highest revelations of the 
Divine nature in the Gospel, pervades all ancient, especially all 
Oriental religions. A like feeling is expressed in the Mosaic 
law, which at every numbering of the people enjoins that a 
tax or ransom shall be paid by every male, 'lest there be a 
1 plague among the people ; ' 2 and although such a census is 
recorded both before and afterwards without blame, yet there 
was evidently something in David's attitude or the circumstances 
of the time, which provoked an uneasy doubt in the minds of 
his subjects. The repugnance even of the unscrupulous Joab 
was such that he refused 3 to number Levi and Benjamin. The 
King also hesitated to count those who were under twenty 
years of age, seemingly lest an exact enumeration should appear 
to contradict the promise of the countless multitudes 4 of Abra- 
ham's seed. The final result was never recorded in the ' Chroni- 
cles' 5 of King David. The act which the earlier narrative 
ascribes directly to the prompting of God, the later Chronicler 
ascribing to the prompting of Satan. 

A complete survey, with all the array of military camps, was 
set on foot, which reached to the very extremities of the king- 
dom, and lasted for nearly a year. Before it was 
epague. com pi ete( ^ almost simultaneously in David's own 
mind, and in the Prophetic warnings which pointed the moral 
of the political events of the monarchy, the sense of its wrong 
— whatever that might be — made itself felt. It was this time 
not Nathan, but Gad, who was charged with the Divine rebuke. 

1 2 Sam. xxiv. 1-9; 1 Chr. xxi. 1-7, § 1, consisted David's sin. 
xxvii. 23, 24. 3 1 Chr. xxi. 6. 

■ Exod xxx. 12. In the neglect of this * Ibid, xxvii. 23. 

law, according to Josephus, Ant. vii. 13, * Ibid. 24. 

1 1 2 THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. xxiv. 

But it is David himself who in the choice between the three 
calamities offered to him, utters the high Prophetic truth which 
finds a response in the nobler souls of every age. ' Better any 
1 external calamity than those which are embittered by human 
' violence and weakness.' The judgment descended in the 
form of a tremendous Pestilence — ' a Death ' as it is expres- 
sively termed in the original, like ' the Black Death ' of the 
middle ages. Appearing in the heat of the 1 summer months, 
aggravated by the very greatness of the population which had 
occasioned the census, spreading with the rapidity of an Orien- 
tal disorder in crowded habitations, it flew from end to end of 
the country in three days, and at last approached Jerusalem. 
The new capital, the very heart of the nation, the peculiar glory 
of David's reign, seemed to be doomed to destruction. 

It is here that, through the many variations 2 of the two 
narratives which record the event, and athwart their figurative 
language, a scene emerges which has left its trace on the 
history of Jerusalem even to the present day. Immediately 
outside the eastern walls of the city was a spot well known as 
belonging to a wealthy chief of the conquered race of Jebus ; 
one who, according to tradition, was spared by David from old 
friendship, perhaps contracted in his wanderings, at the time 
of the capture of the city ; who, according to the probable 
interpretation of the sacred text, had been the king 3 of the 
ancient Jebus. His name is variously given in the original 
as Aranyah, Ha-avarnah, Haornah, Araunah, and Oman. 
On his property was a threshing-floor ; beside a rocky cave 
where he and his sons were engaged in threshing the corn 
gathered in from the harvest. 4 Above this spot is said to have 
appeared an awful vision, such as is described in the later days 

1 • In the days of wheat-harvest.' Oman -the impediment which it opposed 
(2 Sam. xxiv. 15 : LXX.). to David's approach to Gibeon— are only 

2 The variations between 2 Sam. xxiv. in 1 Chr. xxi. 15, 16, 20, 30. (5.) 
1-25 and 1 Chr. xxi. 1-30, are full of ' Araunah the king ' in 2 Sam. xxiv. 
instruction. (1.) 'The Lord provoked 'Oman' and the omission of his royal 
' David,' 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. ' Satan pro- dignity in 1 Chr. xxi. (6.) The descent of 
1 voked David,' 1 Chr. xxi. 1. (2.) Joab's fire on the altar is only in 1 Chr. xxi. 26. 
scruple is mentioned only in 1 Chr. xxi. 6. 3 2 Sam. xxiv. 23. In the original, the 
(3.) ' Seven years' famine ' in 2 Sam. xxiv. expression is much stronger than in the 
15. 'Three years' famine' in 1 Chr. xxi. A. V.— ' Araunah the King.' 

12. (4.) All the particulars of the angel's * 1 Chr. xxi. 20. 

sword the alarm of David— the alarm of 

lbct. xxiv. THE PLAGUE. 113 

of Jerusalem, or in the pestilence of Rome under Gregory the 
Great, or in our own Plague of London, of a celestial Mes- 
senger stretching out a drawn sword between earth and sky 
over the devoted city. 1 It was precisely at the moment when 
David with the chiefs of Israel were moving in the penitential 
Araunah g arD of sackcloth towards the ancient sanctuary of 2 
and David. Gibeon, that this omen deterred their advance. 
Beside the rocky threshing-floor the two Princes met — the 
fallen King of the ancient fortress, the new King of the 
restored capital, each moved alike by the misfortune of a city 
which in different senses belonged to each. Araunah with his 
four sons had hid himself in the cave which adjoined the 
threshing-floor, and crept out with a profound obeisance as he 
saw the conqueror of his race approach. David, with a feeling 
worthy of his noble calling, and in words which well befit the 
Shepherd King, entreated the concentration of the Divine 
judgment on himself, the only offender. ' These sheep, what 
* have they done ? Let Thy hand be against me and against 
1 my father's house.' It was one of those great calamities which 
call out the most generous sentiments of the human heart, and 
out of which the most permanent religious institutions take 
their rise. The spot so closely connected in the minds of 
both with the cessation of the pestilence, was to be conse- 
crated by a royal altar. The Jewish King asked of his heathen 
predecessor the site of the threshing-floor ; the Jebusite King 
gave with a liberality equal to the generosity with which David 
insisted on paying the price for it. The altar at once was 
invested with the most sacred sanction. The whole hill 
assumed from the Divine Vision the name of Moriah, 3 ' the 
1 vision of Jehovah.' The spot itself in a few years became the 
site of the altar of the Temple, and therefore the centre of the 
national worship, with but slight interruption, for more than 
a thousand years, and, according to some authorities, is still 

1 This apparition is also described in a 'to be, but forbad him to build the temple, 

fragment of the heathen historian Eupo- ' as being stained with blood, and having 

lemus (Eus. Prcpp. Ev. ix. 30), but is ' fought many wars. His name was 

confused with the warning of Nathan ' Dianathan.' 
against building the temple, ' An angel Q 1 Chr. xxi. 28, 30. 

' pointed out the place where the altar was 3 2 Chr. iii. 1. 

II. I 

1 14 THE FALL OF DAVID. lbct. xxit. 

preserved in the rocky platform and cave, regarded with almost 
idolatrous veneration, under the Mussulman ' Dome of the 
' Rock.' 

It was the meeting of two ages. Araunah, as he yields 
that spot, is the last of the Canaanites ; the last of that stern 
old race that we discern in any individual form and character. 
David, as he raises that altar, is the , close harbinger of the 
reign of Solomon, the founder of a new institution which 
another was to complete. Long before, he had cherished the 
notion of a mighty Temple which should supersede the tem- 
porary tent on Mount Zion. Two reasons were given for l 
delay. One, that the ancient nomadic form of worship was 
not yet to be 2 abandoned ; the other, that David's wars 3 
unfitted him to be the founder of a seat of peaceful worship. 4 
But a solemn assurance was given that his dynasty should last 
* for ever ' to continue the work. 5 Such a founder, and the 
ancestor of such an immortal race, was Solomon to be. We 
are already almost within the confines of his reign, and to this 
all that remains of David's life — the preparation 6 for the 
Temple, 7 the last struggle between Adonijah and Solomon — 
properly belong. 

In the tumult and anxiety of that final contention, the 
aged King was released. Three versions of his latest words 
His last appear in the sacred record. One, which no admirer 
words. Q f hj s heroic character can read without a pang, 
breathes the union of tender gratitude for past services with 
the fierce and profound vindictiveness which belongs to the 
worse nature of his age, his family, and his own character. 
Chimham and his children were specially commended to 
Solomon's care ; but a dark legacy of long-cherished vengeance, 
like that which was found in the hands of the dead Con- 
stantine, was bequeathed to his successor against the aged 

1 This is the subject of one of the * 1 Chr. xxii. 8. 

apocryphal colloquies. (Fabricius, p. s 2 Sam. vii. 13 ; 1 Chr. xxii. 9. 

1004). s According to 1 Chr. xxii. 2-19, xxviii. 

a 3 Sam. vii. 6, 7. i-xxix. 19. Eupolemus (see Eusebius, 

s In this respect David still belonged Prcep. Ev. ix. 30) makes David send fleets 

to the older generation of heroes. (See for these stores to Elath and to Ophir. 

Jerome, Quasi. Heb. on 2 Sam. vii. 8.) ' 1 Kings i. 5-ii. 46. 

mct. xxiv. HIS LAST WORDS. 115 

Joab, and the aged Shimei. We need not darken the crime 
by adding to it the explanation of the Jewish traditions : that 
David, knowing by a vision the future descent of Mordecai l 
and Esther from the accursed Benjamite, had withheld the 
hand of Abishai till the ancestor of the future deliverers was 
born, and then given up his enemy to the tender mercies of 

Another aspect of more pleasing colour is given to the 
close of his reign in the later Chronicles, where the dying 
monarch is represented as starting once more 2 to his feet, and 
laying upon his son the solemn charge of completing the 
Temple, which he himself had not been allowed to begin. It 
binds together in close union the reigns of the father and the 
son, and throws the halo of David's glory over the more secular 
splendour of Solomon. ' Thine is the greatness and the 
1 power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty. . . . 

* Both riches and honour come of Thee, and Thou reignest 

* over all But who am I, and what is my people, that 

* we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ? for all 

* things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee. 

* For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all 

* our fathers : our days on earth are as a shadow, and there is 

* none abiding.' So speaks the religious munificence of all 
ages — so speaks the founder of the Jewish Empire, and of the 
Jewish Temple. 

There is yet a third utterance, still more emphatically and 
authentically stated to be ' the last words of David ; ' which 
expresses still more fully at once the light and shade, the 
strength and weakness, of his whole reign and character. 

1 David the son of Jesse ' — so he remains to the end ; 
always with his family affections fresh and bright, his father 
and his early kinsmen never forgotten amidst his subsequent 
splendour. 'The man who was raised up on high.' — This 
feeling, too, never deserted him — the sense of the marvellous 
change which had placed a shepherd-boy on the throne of a 
mighty empire. * To be the anointed — the Messiah — of the 

1 Targum on Esther ii 5. See Mordfxai in Dictionary of the Bible. 
* 1 Chr. xxviii. 2. 

1 16 THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. xxrr. 

' God of Jacob.' 'Anointed' by Samuel in his early youth — 
anointed by the chiefs of Hebron on his first accession to the 
chrone — but through those human hands and human agencies, 
he sees the hand and agency of God himself. ' The God of 

* Jacob,' — an expression which is important as showing that at 
that time the story of Jacob — his wanderings, his repose on 
God's care — were familiar to David, 1 not without a recollection 
of the likeness of his life to that of the persecuted patriarch. 
'The sweet singer of Israel,' — ' Pleasant in the songs of Israel.' 
It may be that he thus describes himself as endeared to the 
nation through his own songs, — or that he is the darling of the 
songs of his people ; as when the maidens sang, ' Saul has 
' slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.' 

And now comes ' the prophecy,' — the ' divine 2 outpouring 

* of his soul,' — 

The Spirit of Jehovah speaks in me 
And his strains are on my tongue — 
The God of Israel said to me — 
The Rock of Israel spake. 

It was the ' Breath ' or ' Spirit ' of Jehovah that passed 
through his frame, and his poetic ' strains ' that dwelt on his 
tongue — the words of Him who was the ruling Force and the 
central Rock of the whole nation. 

He that ruleth over men justly — 

Ruling in the fear of God — 
So is it, as the light of the morning, at the rising of the sun — 

A morning, and no clouds — 
After a clear shining, after rain, tender grass springs from the earth — 

This is the ideal of a just reign — whether, as looking back 
upon his own, or forwards to that of Solomon. 3 The ruler just 
to men, and reverent towards God, suggests immediately the 
brilliant sunrise of the East : the cloudless sky above — the 
grass, so exquisitely green in those dry countries, immediately 
after rain, and glistening in the sunbeams. 

1 ' The generation of them that seek 2 Such is the force of the word ren- 

' thy face, O Jacob ' (Psalm xxiv. 6). ' He dered ' speaks.' 

' vowed to the mighty God of Jacob.' ' He 3 See the comparison of the moral and 

' sought a habitation for the mighty God the natural world in Ps. xix. 
' uf Jacob ' (Ps. cxxxii. a, 5). 

lect. xxiv. HIS LAST WORDS. 1 17 

But he has hardly caught this vision before, whether in 
prospect or retrospect, it is instantly overclouded 

For not so is my house with God — 

For an everlasting covenant He made with me, ordered in all 

things and sure. 
For this is all my salvation and all my desire — 
Assuredly He will not cause it to grow (or ' will He not cause it to 

grow ? '). 

It is hard to unravel these tangled sentences ; yet they 
doubtless present in a short compass the contrast between his 
hopes of what his dynasty might be, 1 and his fears of what it 
would be ; and underneath both hopes and fears his confidence 
in the Divine promise which pledged to his race an eternal 
future. It is a prediction, but a prediction wrapt up in that 
undefined suspense, and that dependence on moral conditions, 
which so well distinguished the predictions of sacred Prophets 
from the predictions of Pagan soothsayers. 

But the men of ill— like scattered thorns are they all, for not with 

the hand does one grasp them. 
And the man that shall touch them 
Must be fenced with iron and the wood of spears. 
And with fire shall they be burnt and burnt on the hearth. 

He turns from the apprehension for his house to the recol- 
lection of those who had troubled his own reign from first to 
last. ' The sons of Zeruiah ' have been the constant vexation 
of his life. 2 He contrasts the soft delicate green of the kingdom 
in its prosperity with the thorny thickets which can only be ap- 
proached with axes and long pruning-hooks. These are the 
evil growth of the court even of a righteous king ; to root and 
burn them out is his duty as much as the encouragement of the 

It is a melancholy strain to close a song which begins so full 
of brightness and joy. But it is a true picture of the chequered 
life of David, and of the chequered fortunes of the ruler amongst 
men. It is a true picture of the ' broken lights ' of the human 
heart, whether in Judaea or in England, whether of king or 

1 Comp. Ps. lxxxix. % Comp. Ps. ci. 

Il8 THE FALL OF DAVID. lect. xxrv. 

peasant. If there be any part of Scripture which betrays the 
movements of the human individual soul, it is this precious 
fragment of David's life. If there be any part which claims for 
itself, and which gives evidence of the breathing of the Spirit 
of God, it is this also. Such a rugged two-edged monument 
is the fitting memorial of the man who was at once the King 
and the Prophet, the Penitent and the Saint, of the ancient 

David died, according to Josephus, 1 at the age of seventy. 
The general sentiment which forbade interment within the 
habitations of men gave way in this case, as in that 
of Samuel. He ' was buried in the cky of David ' — 
in the city which he had made his own, and which could only 
be honoured, not polluted, by containing his grave. It was, 
no doubt, hewn in the rocky sides of the hill, and became the 
centre of the catacomb in which his descendants, the kings of 
Judah, were interred after him. It remained one of the land- 
marks of the ruined city, after the return from the Captivity, 
1 between Siloah and the guardhouse of the mighty men,' 2 — 
of his own faithful body-guard, and it was pointed out down to 
the latest times of the Jewish people. ' His sepulchre is with 

* us unto this day,' says S. Peter 3 at Pentecost ; and Josephus 4 
states that Solomon having buried a vast treasure in the tomb, 

one of its chambers was broken open by Hyrcanus, 
and another by Herod the Great. It is said to have 
fallen into ruin in the time of Hadrian. 8 The vast cavern, with 
its many tombs, no doubt exists under the ruins of Jerusalem, 
and its discovery will close many a controversy on the topo- 
graphy of the Holy City. But down to this time its situation 
is unknown. Jerome speaks 6 of a tomb of David, as the object 
of pilgrimage, but apparently in the neighbourhood of Bethle- 
hem. A large catacomb at some distance to the north-west of 
the city has in modern days borne the title of ' the Tombs of 

* the Kings,' and has been of late years by an ingenious French 
traveller claimed as the royal sepulchre. 7 The only site which 

1 Ant. vii. 15, § 2. * Dio Cassius, lxix. 14. 

" Neh. iii. 16. * Acts ii. 29. 8 Ep. ad Marcellam, xlvi. § 12. 

* Ant. vii. 15, § 3 ; xiii. 8, § 4 ; xvi. 7, 7 In the Louvre may now be seen 

§ 1. what M. de Saulcy believed to be the lid 

l»ct. xxnr. HIS TOMB. 119 

is actually consecrated by traditional sentiment as the tomb of 
David is the vault underneath the Mussulman Mosque of David, 
on the southern side of modern Jerusalem. The vault professes 
to be built above the cavern, and contains only the cenotaph, 
usual in the tombs of Mussulman saints, with an inscription in 
Arabic, ' O David, whom God has made vicar, rule x mankind 
* in truth.' 

of David's sarcophagus (see De Saulcy, tomb of David, of which the peculiarity 

Narrative, &c, ii. 162-215). The main was that it was within the walls (see 

objection to this theory, apart from any Robinson, iii. p. 253). 

archaeological argument to be drawn from » See the description of a visit to the 

the character of the design or workman- Tomb in Appendix to Sermons in the 

ship of the remains, is that these sepulchres East, p. 149, and for the tradition, 

must a ways have been outside the walls, Williams's Holy City., ii. 505"5i> 
and therefore cannot be identified with the 

120 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lbct. xxv. 



We have seen how the position of David is virtually that of the 
Founder of the Jewish Monarchy. In this sense his name is 
The cha- repeated in every possible form. ' The city of David ' 
racterof — 'The seed of David' — 'The house of David' — 

David. j 

1 The key of David ' — ' The oath sworn unto David 
— are expressions which pervade the whole subsequent history 
and poetry of the Old Testament, and much of the figurative 
language of the New. The cruelty, the self-indulgence, the 
too-ready falsehood, have appeared sufficiently in the events 
of his history. But there was a grace, a charm about him, 
which entwined the affections of the nation round his person 
and his memory, and made him, in spite of the savage manners 
of the time and the wildness of his own life, at once the centre 
of something like a court, the head of a new civilisation. He 
was born a king 1 of Israel by his natural gifts. His immense 
activity and martial spirit united him by a natural succession to 
the earlier chiefs of Israel, whilst his accomplishments and genius 
fitted him especially to exercise a vast control over the whole 
future greatness of the Church and commonwealth. 

The force and passion of the ruder age was blended with a 
depth of emotion which broke out in every relation of life. 
Never before had there been such a faithful friend, such an 
affectionate father. Never before had a king or chief inspired 
such passionate loyalty, or given it back in equal degree. The 
tenderness of his personal affection penetrated his public life. 
He loved his people with a pathetic compassion, beyond even 

1 See Ewald, iii. 154. 

lrct. xxr. ORIGIN OF THE PSALTER. 1.2 1 

that of Moses. Even from the history we gather that the ancient 
fear of God was, for the first time, passing into the love of God. 
In the vision of David in Paradise, as related by Mohammed, 
he is well represented as offering up the prayer, ' O Lord, grant 
' to me the love of Thee ; grant that I may love those that love 
1 Thee ; grant that I may do the deeds that may win Thy love. 
1 Make the love of Thee to be dearer to me than myself, my 
' family, than wealth, and even than cool water.' ' 

No other Jewish hero has compassed that extreme versatility 
of character which is so forcibly described in the striking ' Song 
'of David ' written by the half-crazed English poet 2 with coal 
on the walls of his madhouse : 

' Pleasant and various as the year — 
Priest, champion, sage, and boy.' 

Jacob was the nearest approach to this complexity of character. 
But David, standing at a higher point of the sacred history, of 
necessity embraces a greater fulness of materials. He is the 
'man after God's own heart,' not in the sense of a faultless 
saint — far from it, even according to the defective standard of 
Jewish morality \ still further from it, if we compare 3 him with 
the Christianity of a civilised age ; but in the s°nse of the man 
who was chosen for his own special work 4 — the work of push- 
ing forward his nation into an entirely new position, both 
religious and social. 

But the hold which David has fixed on the memory of the 
Church and the world is of a deeper kind than any which he 
Origin of derives even from the romance of his life or the 
the Psalter, attractiveness of his character. He was not only the 
Founder of the Monarchy, but the Founder of the Psalter. He 
is the first great Poet of Israel. Although before his time there 
had been occasional bursts of Hebrew poetry, yet David is the 
first who gave it its fixed place in the Israelite worship. There 
is no room for it in the Mosaic 5 ritual. Its absence there may 

1 Jelaladdin, p. 288. occurs, 1 Sam. xiii. 14. The far stronger 

2 Christopher Smart. expression in 1 Kings xv. 5 (comp. Joseph. 

3 This is well put in Dean Milman's Ant. vii. 7, §3), can only be taken as an 
History of the Jews, i. 306. indication of the inferior morality of the 

* This limited sense is evidently that Old Testament to thai of the New. 
of th« only passage where the phrase 8 Ewald, i. 511. 

122 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lect. xxv. 

be counted as a proof of the antiquity of that ritual in all its 
substantial features. For so mighty an innovation no less than 
a David was needed. That strange musical world of the East, 
— with its gongs, and horns, and pipes, and harps — with its 
wild dances and wild contortions l — with its songs of question 
and answer, of strophe and antistrophe, awakening or soothing, 
to a degree inconceivable in our tamer West, the emotions of 
the hearer, were seized by the shepherd minstrel, when he 
mounted the throne, and were formed as his own peculiar pro- 
vince into a great ecclesiastical institution. The exquisite 
richness of verse and music so dear to him — ■ the calves of the 
1 lips ' 2 — took the place of the costly offerings of animals. His 
harp — or as it was called by the Greek translators, his ' Psaltery ' 
or ■ Psalter ' 3 or guitar — was to him what the wonder-working 
staff was to Moses, the spear to Joshua, or the sword to Gideon. 
It was with him in his early youth. It was at hand in the most 
moving escapes of his middle life. In his last words, he seemed 
to be himself the instrument over which the Divine breath 
passed. 4 Singing men and singing women were recognised 
accompaniments of his court. 5 He was the 'inventor of 
' musical instruments.' 6 ' With his whole heart he sung songs, 

1 and loved Him that made him.' 7 United with these poetic 
powers was a grace so nearly akin to the Prophetic gift that he 
has received the rank of a Prophet, 8 though not actually trained 
or called to the office. Although, when he wished for Pro- 
phetical instructions, he applied to others, yet his own utter- 
ances are distinctly acknowledged as 9 Prophetic. The Pro- 
phets themselves recognise his superior 10 insight. Even 
amongst the most gifted of his people he was regarded as an 

1 Two separate dances are indicated in Diet, of Bible). 

2 Sam vi. 16. (See Ewald, iii. 79.) 6 2 Sam. xix. 35. 

* Hosea xiv. 2. Herder, Geist. Ebr. 8 Amos vi. 51. 

Foes, xxxiv. 340. Compare Ps. 1. 14, 23. * Ecclus. xlvii. 8 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. 

3 The name of 'the Psalter,' as the 8 Acts ii. 30. The Mussulman tradi- 

title of the book, is derived from the tions make him especially ' the Prophet of 

Alexandrine MS. of the LXX.— i/raAnj- ' God,' as Abraham is * the Friend,' and 

piop Her aJSaus, ' The Harp with Songs.' Mohammed ' the Apostle.' 

* 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. There is a legend 9 2 Sam. xxiii. 1, 2 ; Ps. iv. 3, 4, xxxii. 
which represents the harp as hung over 8, 9. 

his bed and sounding at midnight when '° 2 Sam. xii. 1 (Vulg.), xxiv. 13, 14 ; 

the north wind passed. over it (Harp in 1 Kings i. 27. 

lect. xxv. ORIGIN OF THE PSALTER. 123 

angel of God, in his power of enduring to hear the claims alike 
of good and evil, in his knowledge of the universe, in the 
directness of his judgments, which, once spoken, could never 
be distorted to the right hand or 1 the left. By these gifts he 
became in his life, and still more in his writings, a Prophet, a 
Revealer of a new world of religious truth, only inferior, if 
inferior, to Moses himself. 

The Psalter, thus inaugurated, opened a new door into the 
side of sacred literature. Hymn after hymn was added, altered, 
accommodated, according to the needs of the time. And not 
only so, but under the shelter of this irregular accretion of 
hymns of all ages and all occasions, other books, which had no 
claim to be considered either of the Law or of the Prophets, 
forced an entrance, and were classed under the common title of 
the ' Psalms,' — though including books as unlike to each other 
and to the Psalter, as Ruth and Ecclesiastes, Chronicles and 
Daniel. But, even without reckoning these accompaniments, 
the Book of Psalms is, as it were, 2 a little Bible in itself. It is 
a Bible within a Bible ; in which most of the peculiarities, in- 
ward and outward, of the rest of the sacred volume are concen- 
trated. It has its five separate books 3 like the Pentateuch. It 
invites inquiry into the authorship of its various parts. Here, 
as elsewhere, the popular belief that the ' Psalter of David ' was 
entirely composed by 4 David himself, has given way before the 
critical research which long ago detected the vast diversity of 
authorship existing throughout the collection. As, on the one 
hand, we gratefully acknowledge the single impulse which 
brought the book existence, we recognise no less, on the 
other hand, the many illustrious poets whose works underneath 
that single name have come down to us, unknown, yet hardly 
less truly the offspring of David's mind, than had they sprung 

* See the remarkable description of Introd. p. Ixxxi. 

David's 'wisdom' in 2 Sam. xiv. 17, 19, 20 * So Augustine and Chrysostom, just 

(with the comments of Ewald and Thenius); as, for a similar reason, the whole Penta- 

comp. also 2 Sam. xix. 27. teuch has been at times ascribed to Moses, 

2 ' The Psalms ' are regarded in the the whole of the Books of Samuel to 

Koran (iv. 161) as t>he fourth sacred book, Samuel, the whole of the Book of Joshua 

the Pentateuch, the Gaspels, and the to Joshua, or the whole of the Book of 

Koran being the other three. Isaiah to Isaiah. 

J See Perowne, The tiaak (>f Psalmt, 

1 24 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lbct. xxt. 

directly from himself. The evident accommodation ■ of many 
of the Psalms to the various events through which the nation 
passed, whilst it shows the freedom with which these sacred 
(poems were handled by successive editors, adds to their interest 
iy intertwining them more closely with the national history. 
The poetry which they contain is not Epical, but Lyrical. Epic 
poetry was denied to the Semitic, and reserved for the Indo- 
Germanic, 2 races. But this defect is to a great extent supplied 
by the ivy-like tenacity with which the growth of the Hebrew 
Lyrics winds itself round and round the more than Epical 
trunk of the Hebrew history. 

The Psalter, thus freely composed, has further become the 
Sacred Book of the world, in a sense belonging to no other 
its sacred- pa rt of the Biblical records. Not only does it hold 
ness - its place in the Liturgical services of the Jewish 

Church, not only was it used more than any other part of the 
Old Testament by the writers of the New, but it is in a special 
sense the peculiar inheritance of the Christian Church through 
all its different branches. ' From whatever point of view any 
its use by ' Church hath contemplated the scheme of its doc- 
Churches. « trine— by whatever name they have thought good to 
' designate themselves, and however bitterly opposed to each 
' other in church government or observance of rites, you will 
' find them all, by harmonious and universal consent, adopting 
1 the Psalter as the outward form by which they shall express 
* the inward feelings of the Christian 3 life.' It was so in the 
earliest times. The Passover Psalms were the ' Hymn ' 4 of the 
Last Supper. In the 5 first centuries Psalms were sung at the 
Love-feasts, and formed the morning and evening hymns of the 
primitive Christians. 6 ' Of the other Scriptures,' says Theodoret 
in the fifth century, ' the generality of men know next to no- 
1 thing. But the Psalms you will find again and again repeated 
1 in private houses, in market-places, in streets, by those who 

1 As in Ps. li. 18, 19 ; lx. 1-7 : Ixviii. 1, cxviii.) were called ' the Hallel.* 
12, 13, 14 ; and cviii. 1-7. s For some of these instances, see 

a Ewald, Dichter des A. B., p. 14. Perowne, The Book of PsaUns, Introd* 

3 Irving's Introd. to the Psalms, pp. pp. xxxvi.-xlix. 
5, 6. 6 Psalms lxiii. and cxli. 

* Matt. xxvi. 30. The*« Psalms (cxiii.- 

lbct. xxv. ORIGIN OF THE PSALTER. 1 25 

1 have learned them by heart, and who soothe themselves by 
1 their Divine melody.' ' When other parts of Scripture are 
1 used,' says S. Ambrose, ' there is such a noise of talking in 
■ the church, that you cannot hear what is said. But when the 
1 Psalter is read, all are silent.' They were sung by the plough- 
men of Palestine, in the time of Jerome ; by the boatmen of 
Gaul in the time of Sidonius Apollinaris. In the most barbarous 
of churches — the Abyssinian — the Psalter is treated almost as 
an idol, is the only book allowed to be read by the children of 
the laity, 1 and is sung through from end to end at every funeral. 
In the most Protestant of churches— the Presbyterians of Scot- 
land, the Nonconformists of England — ' psalm-singing ' has 
almost passed into a familiar description of their ritual. In the 
Churches of Rome and of England, they are daily recited, in 
proportions such as far exceed the reverence shown to any 
other portion of the Scriptures. 

If we descend from Churches to individuals, there is no 
one book which has played so large a part in the history of so 
its use by many human souls. By the Psalms, Augustine was 
individuals. CO nsoled on his 2 conversion, and on his deathbed. 
By the Psalms, Chrysostom, Athanasius, Savonarola, were 
cheered in persecution. With the words of a Psalm, Poly- 
carp, Columba, Hildebrand, Bernard, Francis of Assisi, Huss, 
Jerome of Prague, Columbus, Henry the Fifth, Edward the 
Sixth, Ximenes, Xavier, Melanchthon, Jewell, breathed their 
last. So dear to Wallace 3 in his wanderings was his Psalter, 
that during his execution, he had it hung before him, and his 
eyes remained fixed upon it as the one consolation of his dying 
hours. The unhappy 4 Darnley was soothed in the toils of his 
enemies by the 55th Psalm. The 68th Psalm cheered Crom- 
well's soldiers to victory at Dunbar. 5 Locke, 6 in his last days, 
bade his friends read the Psalms aloud, and it was whilst in 
rapt attention to their words that the stroke of death fell upon 
him. Lord 7 Burleigh selected them out of the whole Bible as 
his special delight. They were the framework of the devotions 

1 Plowden's Statement on Abyssinia, * Froude's England, viii. 369. 

p. 17. * Carlyle's Cromwell, ii. 40. 

5 Confessions, ch. 9. * Locke's Life, i. p. xxxix. 

3 Tytler's Scottish Worthies, i. 280. ' Strype's Parker, ii. 214. 

126 THE PSALTER OF DAVlD. lect. xxv. 

and of the war-cries of Luther ; they were the last words that 
fell on the ear of his imperial enemy Charles the Fifth. 1 

Whence has arisen this universal influence? What lessons 
can we draw from this ' natural selection ' of a book of such 
character ? 

First, something is owing to its outward poetical form, and 
it is a matter of no small importance that this homage should 
have been thus extorted. 

There has always been in certain minds a repugnance to 
poetry, as inconsistent with the gravity of religious feeling. It 
its poetical nas Deen sometimes thought that to speak of a Book 
character. f foe Bible as ' poetical,' is a disparagement of it. 
It has been in many Churches thought that the more scholas- 
tic, dry, and prosaic the forms in which religious doctrine is 
thrown, the more faithfully is its substance represented. Of 
all human compositions, the most removed from poetry are the 
Decrees and Articles of Faith, in which the belief of Christen- 
dom has often been enshrined as in a sanctuary. To such 
sentiments the towering greatness of David, the acknowledged 
pre-eminence of the Psalter, are constant rebukes. David, be- 
yond king, soldier, or prophet, was the sweet singer of Israel. 
Had Raphael painted a picture of Hebrew as of European 
Poetry, David would have sate aloft at the summit of the 
Hebrew Parnassus, the Homer of Jewish song. His pas- 
sionate, impetuous, wayward character, is that which in all ages 
has accompanied the highest gifts of musical or poetical genius. 
'The rapid stroke as of alternate wings,' 'the heaving and 
' sinking as of the troubled heart,' 2 which have been beautifully 
described as the essence of the parallel structure of Hebrew 
verses, are exactly suited for the endless play of human feeling, 
and for the understanding of every age and nation. The 
Psalms are beyond question poetical, from first to last, and he 
will be a bold man who shall say that a book is less inspired, 
or less true, or less orthodox, or less divine, because it is like 
the Psalms. The Prophet, in order to take root in the common 
life of the people, must become a Psalmist 3 

1 Stirling, Cloister-life of Charles the Fifth, n+m. 

' EwmU, Dichter de* A. B.p. 58. ■ Ibid. pp. 7-9. 

user. xxv. ORIGIN OF THE PSALTER. 1 27 

Secondly, the effect of the Psalter is owing to that diversity 
of character, sentiment, doctrine, authorship, which we reluc- 
tantly acknowledge in other parts of the Bible, and 
y ' in other parts of our Christian worship, but which we 
willingly recognise in the Psalms. In them is exemplified to 
the full that extraordinary complexity and variety of character 
and of history which we have noticed in David himself. 

His harp was full-stringed, and every angel of joy and of sorrow 
swept over the chords as he passed. For the hearts of a hundred 
men strove and struggled together within the narrow continent of 
his single heart ; and will the scornful men have no sympathy for 
one so conditioned, but scorn him, because he ruled not with con- 
stant quietness the unruly host of divers natures which dwelt within 
his single soul? With the defence of his back-slidings, which 
he hath himself more keenly scrutinised, more clearly decerned 
against, and more bitterly lamented than any of his censors, we do 
not charge ourselves, because they were, in a manner, necessary, 
that he might be the full-orbed man which was needed to utter 
every form of spiritual feeling. The Lord did not intend that His 
church should be without a rule for uttering its gladness and its 
glory, its lamentation and its grief ; and to bring such a rule and 
institute into being, He raised up His servant, David, as formerly 
He raised up Moses to give to the church an institute of Law ; and 
to that end He led him the round of all human conditions, that he 
might catch the spirit proper to every one, and utter it according 
to truth. He allowed him not to his being by treading the 
round of one function ; but by every variety of function he culti- 
vated his whole being, and filled his soul with wisdom and feeling. 
He found him objects for every affection, that the affection might 
not slumber and die. He brought him up in the sheep pastures, 
that the ground-work of his character might be laid amongst the 
simple and universal forms of feeling. He took him to the camp, 
and made him a conqueror, that he might be filled with nobleness of 
soul and ideas of glory. He placed him in the palace, that he might 
be filled with ideas of majesty and sovereign might. He carried 
him to the wilderness, and placed him in solitudes, that his soul 
might dwell alone in the sublime conceptions of God and His 
mighty works ; and he kept him there for long years, with only one 
step between him and death, that he might be well schooled to 
trust and depend upon the providence of God. 1 

* Irvingsulntrod. Essay to Homes Commentary on the Psalms, p. 3a. 

128 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lect. xxv. 

David struck the keys of these hundred notes at once, and 
they have been reverberated yet more and mor.e widely through 
the hundred authors whose voices he awakened after him. 
Solomon, 1 Hezekiah, 2 Asaph, Heman and 3 Ethan, with all 
their followers ; the exiled mourners by the waters of 4 Baby- 
lon ; the latest 5 of the prophets ; possibly the unknown min- 
strels 6 who cheered the armies of the Maccabees — every one 
of these, with King David at their head, in their various modes 
of thankfulness, sorrow, despair, hope, rage, love, mercy, ven- 
geance, doubt, faith — every one of these, through their dif- 
ferent trials, of wanderings, escapes, captivity, banishment, 
bereavement, persecutions, in their quiet contemplation of 7 
nature, in the 8 excitement of the battlefield, in the splendour 
of great 9 coronations, in the solemnity of mighty 10 funerals, — 
from each of these sources each has contributed to the charm 
which the Psalter possesses for the whole race of mankind. 
When Christian n martyrs and Scottish Covenanters 12 in dens 
and caves of the earth, when French exiles 13 and English fugi- 
tives 14 in their hiding places during the panic of revolution or 
of mutiny, received a special comfort from the Psalms, it was 
because they found themselves literally side by side with the 
author in the cavern of Adullam, or on the cliffs of Engedi, or 
beyond the Jordan, escaping from Saul or from Absalom, from 
the Philistines or from the Assyrians. When Burleigh or 
Locke seemed to find an echo in the Psalms to their own calm 
philosophy, it was because they were listening to the strains 

1 Ps. ii. Ixxii. chanan's version of the Psalms, beguiled 

* Isaiah xxxviii. o ; Ps. xlviii., lxxvi. the weary hours of his confinement by 

• Ps. lxxiii.-lxxxiii., lxxxviii.-lxxxix. repeating them to himself, and, to his 

* Ps, cxxxvii. dying day, he could repeat every one 

5 P*. cxlvii.-cl. without missing a word, and said they 

6 Ps. xliv., placed by Calvin, De had been the great comfort of his life by 
Wette, Perowne, under the Maccabees. night and day on all occasions.— Z-z/fc of 
See i Mace. iv. 24. Sir P. Hume, by his Daughter, p. 38. 

' Ps. viii., xxix., civ. 13 So I have been told by those who 

' Ps. xx., lx., ex. fled in the Revolution of 1848. 

• Ps. xxi., xlv. ,4 ' There is not a day in which we do 
IO Ps. xlix. xc. ' not find something in the Psalms that 

1 The figure of Ps. xlii. 1, often re- 'appears written especially for our un- 

peated in the Roman Catacombs. ' happy circumstances, to meet the wants 

" Sir Patrick Hume, when, hid in the 'and feelings of the day.'— Edwards's 

sepulchral vault, he had no light to read Personal Narrative of the Indian Mutiny, 

by having committed to memory Bu- 145, 165. 

lbct. xxv. ITS DIVERSITY. 1 29 

which had proceeded from the mouth or charmed the ear of 
the sagacious King or the thoughtful statesman of Judah. It has 
been often observed that the older we grow, the more interest 
the Psalms possess for us, as individuals ; and it may almost be 
said that by these multiplied associations, the older the human 
race grows, the more interest do they possess for mankind. 
Truly has this characteristic been caught by our own Hooker l 
with a critical sagacity beyond his age, as the vindication of 
their constant use in Christian Churches. 

1 What is there necessary for man to know,' he asks, 'which 
1 the Psalms are not able to teach ? They are to beginners an 
' easy and familiar introduction — a mighty augmentation of all 
1 virtue and knowledge in such as are matured before — a strong 

* confirmation to the most perfect amongst others. Heroical 
1 magnanimity, exquisite justice, grave moderation, exact wis- 
1 dom, repentance unfeigned, unwearied patience, the mysteries 
1 of God, the sufferings of Christ, the terrors of wrath, the 

* comforts of grace, the works of Providence over this world, 
1 and the promised joys of the world to come, all good to be 
1 known, or done, or had, this one celestial fountain yieldeth, 
' Let there be any grief or disease incident unto the soul of 
' man, any wound or sickness named, for which there is not in 
1 this treasure-house a present comfortable remedy at all times 
' ready to be found.' 

Truly has the same sentiment been echoed by another 
writer, hardly less eloquent, of another Church and nation: — 

' He only who knows the number of the waves of the ocean 
1 and the abundance of tears in the human eye, He who sees 
4 the sighs of the heart before they are uttered, and Who hears 

* them still when they are hushed into silence — He alone can 
1 tell how many holy emotions, how many heavenly vibrations, 
1 have been produced and will ever be produced in the souls of 
1 men by the reverberation of these marvellous strains, of these 
' predestinated hymns, read, meditated, sung in every hour of 

* day and night, in every winding of the vale of tears. The 
1 Psalter of David is like a mystic harp, hung on the walls of 
' the true Zion. Under the breath of the Spirit of God, it 

1 Eccles. Polity. V. xxxvii. 2. 
II. K 

1 30 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lbct. xxt 

* sends forth its infinite varieties of devotion, which, rolling on 
1 from echo to echo, from soul to soul, awakes in each a sepa- 
1 rate note, mingling in that one prolonged voice of thankful- 

* ness and penitence, praise and prayer.' l 

Well said by Protestant divine : well said by Catholic pre- 
late : but how powerful a witness, if only it could be consis- 
tently borne, to a toleration, a universal sympathy such as, 
outside this charmed circle, Protestant and Catholic have 
alike been unwilling to endure, still more unwilling to hail as 
one of the first privileges of the religious man. 

Yet further, if from amongst these multifarious notes we 
select those which are peculiar to the Psalter, we shall find still 
deeper causes for its long pre-eminence, for the importance 
justly assigned to David, as a second 2 Moses. The sentiments 
which it contains are of the most various and unequal kind. 
. , , It can plead no exemption from the defects of the 

Its defects. _ . . -kt 1 r T i 

Jewish system. Nor even in the wars of Joshua or 
the song of 3 Deborah, does the vindictive spirit of the ancient 
dispensation burn more fiercely than in the imprecations of the 
69th, 109th, and 137th Psalms. When Clovis fed his savage 
spirit from the 18th 4 Psalm, it was, we must confess, because 
he found there the sparks of a kindred soul. Hardly, in the 
silence of the Pentateuch, or the gloomy despair 5 of Eccle- 
siastes, is the faintness of the hope of immortality more chilling 
than in the 30th, 49th, and 88th Psalms. Many of its excel- 
its excel lences, too, are shared with other portions. Its stern 
knees. contempt of the sacrificial system, its exaltation of the 
moral law above the ceremonial, are Prophetic, even more 
than Psalmodic. Its strains 6 of battle and victory are not 
equal to the rude energy of the ancient war-songs of the 
Judges. But there are three points in which the Psalms stand 

its personal The first is the depth of personal expression and 
experiences, experience. There are doubtless occasions when the 
Psalmist speaks as the organ of the nation. But he is for 

' Dogme de la Penitence, 243 ; by * Ps. xviii. 39, 40. Gibbon, ch. 38. 

Gerbet, the late Archbishop of Perpignan. 6 See Lectures VII., XXVIII. 

9 Comp. pp. 66, 78, 134. ' Herder, Geist. der Ebr, Poes. xxxiv. 

3 See Lectures XL, XIV. 301. 

lect. xxv. ITS JOYOUSNESS. 131 

the most part alone with himself and with God. Each word is 
charged with the intensity of some grief or joy, known or un- 
known. If the doctrines of S. Paul derive half their force 
from their connexion with his personal struggles, the doctrines 
of David ! also strike home and kindle a fire wherever they 
light, mainly because they are the sparks of the incandescence 
of a living human experience like our own. The Patriarchs 
speak as the Fathers of the chosen race ; the Prophets speak 
as its representatives and its guides. But the Psalmist speaks 
as the mouthpiece of the individual soul, of the free, indepen- 
dent, solitary conscience of man everywhere. 

The second of these peculiarities is, what we may call in 
one word, the perfect naturalness of the Psalms. It appears 
its joyous- perhaps most forcibly, in their exultant freedom and 
ness. joyousness of heart It is true, as Lord Bacon says, 

that ' if you listen to David's harp, you will hear as many 
1 hearselike airs as carols,' yet still the carols are found there 
more than anywhere else. ' Rejoice in the Lord.' . . . ' Sing ye 

* merrily.' . . . ' Make a cheerful noise.' . . . ' Take the psalm, 
1 bring hither the tabret, the merry harp, with the lute.' . . . 

* O praise the Lord, for it is a good thing to sing praises unto 
' our God.' . . . ' A joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thank- 
1 ml.' This in fact is the very meaning of the word ' Psalm.' 
The one Hebrew word which is their very pith and marrow is 
1 Hallelujah.' They express, if we may so say, the sacred duty 
of being happy. Be happy, cheerful, and thankful, as ever we 
can, we cannot go beyond the Psalms. They laugh, they shout, 
they cry, they scream for joy. There is a wild exhilaration which 
rings through them. They exult alike in the joy of battle, and 
in the calm of nature. They see God's goodness everywhere. 
They are not ashamed to confess it. The bright side of crea- 
tion is everywhere uppermost ; the dark sentimental side, at 
least of the outer world, is hardly ever seen. The fury of the 
thunderstorm, the roaring of the sea, are to them full of magni- 
ficence and delight. 2 Like the Scottish poet 3 in his childhood, 

1 See Lecture XXIV. ' Life of Sir Walter Scott, i. 83. 

• Ps. xxix., xciii. (see Keble's transla- Lyra Innocentium, ix. 13. 
tk»X civ. 

K 2 

132 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lect. xxv. 

at each successive peal they clap their hands in innocent plea- 
sure. The affection for birds, and beasts, and plants, and sun, 
and moon, and stars, is like that which S. Francis of Assisi 
claimed for all these fellow-creatures of God, as his brothers 
and sisters. There have been those for whom, on this very 
account, in moments of weakness and depression, the Psalms 
have been too much : yet not the less is this vein of sacred 
merriment valuable in the universal mission of the Chosen 
People. And the more so, because it grows out of another 
feeling in the Psalms, which has also jarred strangely on the 
minds of devout but narrow schools, 'the free and 
1 princely heart of innocence,' which to modern religion 
has often seemed to savour of self-righteousness, and want of 
proper humility. The Psalmist's bounding, buoyant hope, 1 his 
fearless claim to be rewarded according to 2 his righteous deal- 
ing, his confidence in his own 3 integrity, no less than his agony 
over his own crimes, his passionate delight 4 in the Law,- not as 
a cruel enemy, but as the best of guides, sweeter than honey 
and the honeycomb, — these are not according to the require- 
ments of Calvin or even of Pascal : they are from a wholly 
different point of the celestial compass than that which inspired 
the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians. But they have not 
the less a truth of their own, a truth to Nature, a truth to God, 
which the human heart will always recognise. The frank unre- 
strained benediction on the upright honest man, ' the noblest 
1 work of God,' with which the Psalter opens, is but the fitting 
prelude to the boundless generosity and prodigality of joy with 
which in its close it calls on 'every creature that breathes,' 
without stint or exception, to 'praise the Lord.' 5 It may be 
that such expressions as these owe their first impulse in part to 
the new epoch of national prosperity and individual energy, 
ushered in by David's reign ; but they have swept the mind of 
the Jewish nation onward towards that mighty destiny which 
awaited it ; and they have served, though at a retarded speed, 
to sweep on, ever since, the whole spirit of humanity in its 

1 Ps. xvi. g. s Ps. i. 1-3^ cl. 6. I owe this remark 

3 Ps. xviii. 21-26. to a venerable friend, than whom no one 

3 Ps. xxv. 2, 21, xxvi. 1-6, 11. could speak on such a matter with more 

* Ps. xix. 8-1 1, cxix. (throughout). authority. 

lbct. xxv. ITS SPIRITUAL LIFE. 133 

upward course. ' The burning stream has flowed on after the 
' furnace itself has cooled.' As of the classic writers of Greece 
it has been well l said that they possess a charm quite indepen- 
dent of their genius, in the radiance of their brilliant and youth- 
ful beauty, so it may be said of the Psalms that they possess a 
like charm, independent even of their depth of feeling or lofti- 
ness of doctrine. In their free and generous grace the youthful, 
glorious David seems to live over again with a renewed vigour. 
' All our fresh springs ' 2 are in him, and in his Psalter. 

These various peculiarities of the Psalms lead us, partly by 
its spiritual wa y °f contrast, partly by a close though hidden con- 
life - nexion, to their main characteristic, which appears 

nowhere else in the Bible with equal force, unless it be in the 
Life and Words of Christ Himself. The 'reason why the 
' Psalms have found such constant favour in every portion of 
1 the Christian Church, while forms of doctrine and discourse 
' have undergone such manifold changes in order to represent 

* the changing spirit of the age, is this, that they address them- 

* selves to the simple intuitive feelings of the renewed soul.' 
They represent ' the freshness of the soul's infancy, the love of 

* the soul's childhood ; and, therefore, are to the Christian what 
1 the love of parents, the sweet affections of home, and the 
1 clinging memory of infant scenes, are to men in 3 general.' 

* O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee.' ' My soul 
1 waited for Thee before the morning watch. ' It is in the depth, 
the freshness of this spiritual life that we find the first distinct 
trace of a higher and more universal law 4 than that of Moses — 
of a better and more eternal life 5 than that which alone the 
Mosaic system revealed to man. 'God is not a God of the 
'dead, but of the living,' was a truth, which, however necessarily 
involved in the Pentateuch, needed the harp of David to call it 
into a practical existence. 

I have given the other glories of the Psalms from writers 
of widely different Christian communions. May I venture, in 

1 Dr. Temple, 'Education of the * Ps. xix., cxix. 

'World,' Essays and Revieivs, p. 27. * Ps. xvi. 11 ; xvii. 15 ; Ixxiii. 26. See 

a Ps. lxxxvii. 7. Herder, Geist der Ebr. Poetic, pp. 214- 

3 Irving's Introduction to dn Psalms 219. 
P- 7- 

134 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lect. xx*. 

speaking of this crowning glory — of this insight which the 
Psalter gives into the union of the Human Soul with its Divine 
Friend and Creator— to use the words of one, 1 who perchance 
may be thought to have excluded himself from all these, but 
who has nevertheless described the phenomena of spiritual life 
with a force which few within that pale have equalled, and who 
has precisely caught that aspect of it which the Psalms most 
faithfully represent ? 

' He who begins to realise God's majestic beauty and 
eternity, and feels in contrast how little and how transitory 
man is, how dependent and feeble, longs to lean upon God 
for support. . . . For where rather should the weak rest than 
on the strong, the creature of a day than on the Eternal, the 
imperfect than on the centre of Perfection ? And where else 
should God dwell than in the human heart ? — for if God is in 
the universe, among things inanimate and without conscience, 
how much more ought He to dwell with our souls ; and our 
souls, too, seem to be infinite in their cravings : who but He 
can satisfy them ? Thus a restless instinct agitates the soul, 
guiding it dimly to feel that it was made for some definite but 
unknown relation towards God. The sense of emptiness in- 
creases to positive uneasiness, until there is an inward yearn- 
ing, if not shaped in words, yet in substance not alien from 
that ancient 2 strain — "As the hart panteth after the water- 
brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God : My soul is 
athirst for God, yea, even for the living God." . . . Then the 
Soul understands and knows that God is her God, dwelling 
with her more closely than any creature can ; yea, neither 
Stars nor Sea, nor smiling Nature, hold God so intimately as 
the bosom of the Soul. He becomes the soul of the soul. All 
nature is ransacked by the Psalmists for metaphors to express 
this single thought, " God is for my soul, and my soul is for 
God." Father, Brother, Friend, King, Master, Shepherd, 
Guide, are common titles. God is their Tower, their Glory, 
their Rock, their Shield, their Sun, their Star, their Joy, their 
Portion, their Trust, their Life. The Psalmist describes his 
soul as God's only and favourite child, His darling one. So 

1 F. Newman The r r7>', pp. 101, 104, iao. " Ps. xlii. 1. 

lbct. xxv. ITS MESSIANIC HOPES. 1 35 

1 it is that joy bursts out into praise, and all things look brilliant, 
1 and hardship seems easy, and duty becomes delight, and con- 
' tempt is not felt, and every morsel of bread is sweet. The 
' whole world seems fresh to him with sweetness before un- 
1 tasted. O philosopher, is this all a dream ? Thou canst ex- 
1 plain it all ? Thou scornest it all ? But it is not less a fact 
' of human nature — and of some age too — for David thirsted 
' after God, and exceedingly rejoiced in Him ; and so did Paul, 

* and so have hundreds since.' 

And may we add, in all humility, O Christian, who hearest 
these things in the Psalms, hast thou ever felt them, or felt 
anything like them ? Hast thou, with the light of the Gospel, 
fallen below the Hebrew Psalmist? Canst thou enter into 
that belief, so scanty, so undefined, yet so intense, which made 
him repose in unshaken faith on the truth and goodness of 
God ? Canst thou believe that those sacred words are intended 
to nerve thy heart against the snares of sin, the love of popu- 
larity, the respect of persons, the want of faith in Truth, the 
pressure of sorrow, and sickness, and death ? ■ Whom have I 
' in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I 

* desire in comparison of Thee. My flesh and my heart 
1 faileth : but God is the strength of my heart and my portion 
' for l ever.' ' Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing 
1 good j leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure, else shalt 
' thou be moved to do evil.' ' Commit thy way unto the Lord, 
1 and put thy trust in Him.' ' He shall make thy righteousness 
1 as clear as the light, and thy just dealing as the noon-day.' 

* The Lord ordereth a good man's going. Though he fall he 
1 shall not be cast away, for the Lord upholdeth him with His 
1 hand.' 2 

Thus far, the causes of the sacredness of the Psalter are 
such as all might recognise, Jew, and we may also add, Pagan, 
its Mes- as well as Christian. But as we contemplate David in 
siank hopes, himself and as the inaugurator of this new revelation 
to man, a further question has arisen. The glory of David 

' Ps. lxxiii. 25, 26. * Ps. xxxvii. 3, 5, 23, 24. 

I36 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. lect. xxv. 

carried with it a pledge of the continuance of his dynasty to the 
remotest ages of which Jewish imagination could conceive. 
This fixed belief in the eternity of the House of David, of which 
the Psalms are the earliest and the most constant expression, 
has had its faint counterpart in those yearnings which in other 
countries have suggested the return of the beloved sovereign 
himself — Arthur of Britain, Sebastian of Portugal, Frederick 
Barbarossa of Germany. But the Jewish belief had a far 
deeper basis. When the decline of David's royal race appeared 
to extinguish the hopes that were bound up with it, instead of 
vanishing away, like those popular fancies just mentioned, the ex- 
pectation of the Jewish Church sprang up in a new form, and 
with increased vitality. It fastened, not as before l on the 
ruined and exiled dynasty, nor yet, as occasionally, on the 
actual person 2 of David, but on the coming of One who should 
be a Son of David, and restore the shattered throne, and build 
up again 3 the original tent or hut which David had pitched on 
his first entrance into Jerusalem. This expectation of ' a Son 
' of David ' who should revive the fallen splendour of his father's 
house, blended with the general hope of restoration peculiar to 
the Jewish race, reached the highest pitch a thousand years 
after David's death. Suddenly there came One, to whom, 
though He did not desire the name for Himself, it was given 
freely by others. He is repeatedly called the Son of David. 4 
Most unlike, indeed, to that fierce, indulgent, passionate King, 
that wayward, eager, exuberant poet, most unlike to many of 
the wild 5 imprecations in the Psalms themselves, yet in those 
peculiar features of the Psalmist, of which we have spoken, so 
like, that when we read his emotions we seem to be reading — 
and the Christian Church from the earliest times has delighted 
to read— the emotions, the devotions, the life, of Christ Him- 
self. That natural, unrestrained, at times joyous and victorious 
spirit which animates the Psalter, is never reproduced in any 
other religious teacher, inside or outside the circle of the 
Sacred History, except in Him ' who came eating and drink- 

1 2 Sam. vii. 19 ; xxiii. 5. " Matt, ix 27 ; Mark x. 47 : Luke 

a Ps. Ixxxix. 20, 49 ; cxxxii. 10, 17 ; xviii. 38, &c. 

Ezekiel xxxvii. 24, 25 ; Hosea iii. 5. 5 Comp. Baxter, Paraphrase of the 

3 Amos ix. 11 : Isaiah xvi. 5. Comp. New Testament, p, vi 
jutix. 1, Lam. ii. 6 t Ps. bacvi. 2, Judith ix. 8. 


1 ing,' the Bridegroom, and the Bridegroom's Guest, the Friend 
of the child-like, the simple, the genuine. The compassion for 
the suffering nation ; the generous sympathy with the oppressed 
and the outcast ; the chivalrous thoughtfulness (contrasted, in 
David's case, with the cruel craft that occasionally disfigures 
his character) — meet nowhere else in Jewish history so re- 
markably as in the hero of Adullam and Engedi, and in Him 
who lived with the publicans and sinners, and wept over 
Jerusalem, and forgave His enemies. That wide diversity of 
thought and situation which marked the career of David, the 
sudden vicissitudes from obscurity to fame, and fame to 
ignominy — that rapid passage through all the feelings of 
humanity, which we trace through the variegated texture of 
the Psalter, constitute, in no scanty measure, the framework 
of the great drama of the Gospel History. And with this 
variety of outward condition is combined the inward feeling of 
absolute unity of the soul with God, which constitutes, as we 
have seen, the main characteristic of the Religion of the 
Psalter, but of which we have the perfect expression in the 
Mind of Christ. We need not invoke any of the abstract 
theological statements respecting Him. It is enough to take 
the most purely historical view that has ever been expressed. 
1 God speaks not to Him,' it has been well said by such a 
critic, 1 ' as to one outside of Himself : God is in Him. He 
' feels himself with God, and He draws from His own heart 
1 what He tells us of His Father. He lives in the bosom of 
1 God by the intercommunion of every moment.' And there- 
fore it is that, when in the Psalms of David we are carried 
along with their burning words, down to the lowest depths of 
grief, and up to the highest heights of glory, we feel, all the 
while, that through those words we are one 2 with Christ, and 
He is one with us : we are admitted — not by any fanciful 
straining of words, or by any doubtful application of minute 
predictions, but by the real likeness of spirit with spirit — 
nto the depths of that communion, wherein He is one with 
His Father. It may be that the magnificent language of the 

1 Renan, Vie de Jesus. of the Psalter, see living's Introduction 

' For this ground of the Messianic idea to the Psalms, pp. 37, 38. 

138 THE PSALTER OF DAVID. usct. xxv. 

Psalter at times rises into meanings which can only be fully 
understood in its highest and most universal application. It 
may be allowable, for those who so wish, to merge altogether 
the historical circumstances of the book in its moral and 
religious lessons. But the fact still remains, that it is through 
the likeness of situation and feeling, and through this alone, 
that the connexion of the words of the original author with 
Christ, and with the Christian Church, has been maintained 
and perpetuated. The Psalter is especially prophetic of 
Christ, because, more than any other part of the ancient 
Scriptures, it enters into those truths of the spiritual life of 
which He was the great Revealer. David and his fellow- 
Psalmists are types, that is likenesses, of Christ, because they, 
more than any other characters of the Sacred History, share in 
the common feelings and vicissitudes of life and death, failure 
and success, through which He and they and we — but He in 
the highest and most transcendent of all senses — win the hope 
which is in those Psalms for the first time set before the mind 
of man. 







I. The contemporary accounts contained in — 

i. The 'Book of the Acts' (or Words) of Solomon (i Kings xi. 


2. The ' Book ' {i.e. the Words or Acts) of the Prophet Nathan 

(2 Chr. ix. 29). 

3. The ' Prophecy' of Ahijah the Shilonite {ibid.). 

4. The ' Visions' of Iddo the Seer (ibid.). 

Of these some materials are probably preserved in the accounts of the 
two historical books of the Old Testament (1 Kings i. 1 — xi. 43 ; 
1 Chr. xxviii. 1 — 2 Chr. ix. 31), and of Ecclus. xlvii. 13-23. 

II. The contemporary literature of the reign of Solomon. 

1. The writings of Solomon himself (1 Kings iv. 32, 33). 
(a.) Three thousand proverbs. 
(b.) One thousand and five songs. 
(c. ) * Words ' (works) on Natural History. 

Of these some parts are preserved to us either actually or by imitation 
in the three books which bear the name of Solomon. 

1. 'The Proverbs' (i.—xxix.). 

2. 'The Song of Solomon,' or ' The Song of Songs.' 

3. ' Ecclesia^tes' or ' The Preacher ' (Heb. Koheleth). 

To these add t! e Psalms sometimes connected with him : Ps. ii. r xlv., 
lxxii., cxxvii. 


III. Books or traditions extraneous to the Canon. 

I. His Deutero-canonical or apocryphal writings. 

(a. ) The Wisdo?n of Solomon, in the person of Solomon, But 
apparently by an Alexandrian Jew. 
(This and Ecclesiasticus follow in the LXX. and Vulgate, 
immediately on the three Proto -canonical books of 
Solomon, and with these are called ' The five books of 
Wisdom. ') 

(b.) The Psalter of Solomon. Eighteen Psalms which once 
stood in the Alexandrine MS. at the end of the New 
Testament, following the Epistles of Clemens Romanus, 
as appears from the Index. They have been published 
from a MS. in the Augsburg Library by De la Cerda. 
(Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus Vet. Test. 914-999.) 
See Lecture XXVIII. 

(c.) Correspondence between Solomon and Vaphres, King of 
Egypt, preserved by Eupolemus (Eusebius, Prcep. Ev. 
ix. 31, 32). 

(d.) Correspondence of Solomon and Hiram of Tyre. 

(o). Letters preserved by Eupolemus (Eusebius, Prap. 
Ev. ix. 33, 34, and Josephus, Ant. viii. 2, § § 6, 7, 8), 
of which the copies apparently existed both at Tyre and 
Jerusalem in the time of Josephus. 
(j3). Riddles, mentioned by Menander and Dios, the Phoe- 
nician historians (Josephus, Ant. viii. 5, § 3, and c. 
Apion. i. 17, 18; Theophilus Antioch, ad Autolycum, 
iii. 131, 132). 

(e. ) Charms, seals, &c. of Solomon, alluded to by Josephus, 
Ant. viii. 2, § 5 (see also Pineda, De Rebus Salomonis; 
and Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus Vet. Test. p. 

2. Later traditions of his history. 

(a.) In Josephus, Ant. viii. 1-7. 

(b.) In the Arabian stories (Koran, xvii. 15-I9, xxvii. 20-45, 
xxviii. 29-39, xxxiv. II-13, with the amplifications in 
Lane's Selections, p. 232-262) ; D'Herbelot's Biblio- 
thfyue Orientate, ' Soliman ben-Daoud ; ' Weil's Biblical 
Legends, p. 17 1-2 15. 

(c.) In Eupolemus (Eusebius, Prap. Ev. ix. 31, 34). 

user. xxvi. THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. 141 



Solomon, the third King of Israel, is as unlike either of his 
predecessors as each of them is unlike the other. No person 
The age of occupies so large a space in Sacred History, of whom 
Solomon. s0 f ew personal incidents are related. That stately 
and melancholy figure— in some respects the grandest and the 
saddest in the sacred volume — is, in detail, little more than a 
mighty shadow. But on the other hand, of his age, of his court, 
of his works, we know more than of any other. Now, for 
the first time since the Exodus, we find distinct traces of dates 
— the year, the month, the day. Now at last we seem to come 
across monuments, which possibly remain to this day. Of the 
earlier ages of Jewish history, nothing has lasted to our time 
except it be the sepulchres and wells ; works of Nature rather 
than of men. But it is not beyond belief that the massive walls 
at the reservoirs near Bethlehem, the substructures of the temple 
at Jerusalem, and at Baalbec, are from the age of Solomon. Now 
also we come within certain signs of contemporary history in the 
outer world. In the reign of Solomon we at least meet with an 
Egyptian sovereign, designated by his proper name — Shishak — 
and in his still existing portraiture on the walls of Karnac, we 
have thus the first distinct image of one who beyond question 
had communicated with the Chosen People. Now also the 
date to which we have attained, the thousandth year before the 
Christian era, brings us to a level with the beginning of the well- 
known Classical History of Greece and Italy. 

But the epoch is remarkable not only for its distinctness, 
but for its splendour. It is characteristic indeed of the Jewish 

I42 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxyi. 

records that, clearly as Solomon's greatness is portrayed at the 
time, it is rarely noticed in them again. Of all the characters of 
the Sacred History, he is the most purely secular ; and merely 
secular magnificence was an excrescence, not a native growth, 
of the Chosen People. Whilst Moses and David are often 
mentioned again in the sacred books, Solomon's name hardly 
occurs after the close of his reign. But his fame ran, as it were, 
underground amongst the traditions of his own people and of 
the East generally. The Greek form which the Hebrew name 
of Solomon assumes is of itself a singular tribute to the lofty 
associations with which it was invested. ' Alexander,' the name 
of the greatest king of the Gentile world in Eastern ears, was 
in after days thought by the Jews to be the fitting Western 
version of the name of the greatest king of the Jewish world. 
1 Alexander Balas,' ' Alexander Jannaeus ' — the Alexanders at 
the time of the Christian era — are merely so many Solomons. 
The same analogy spread even to the feminine name ; and 
Alexandra, which hardly ever occurs 1 in Grecian nomencla- 
ture, was a common Jewish, and hence has become a Christian 
name, from being held to be the equivalent of the Hebrew 
Salome. In the Mussulman stories his name has a still wider 
circulation. Suleyman (in its diminutive form of endearment — 
' Little Solomon ') became the favourite title of Arabian and 
Turkish princes, and the sense of his being the ideal and pro- 
totype of all great kings is shown in the strange belief that the 
forty sovereigns who ruled over the world before the creation 
of man were all Solimans. Their history was recounted by the 
Bird of Ages, the Simorg, who had served them all ; and their 
statues, monstrous Pre- Adamite forms, were supposed to exist 
in the mountains of Kaf, where a sacred shield descended from 
each to each. 2 

He is the true type of an Asiatic monarch. ' Europe,' says 
Hegel, 3 'could never have had a Solomon.' But of the poten- 
tates of Asia, he is the one example with which Europe is the 
most familiar. 

And. although his secular aspect has withdrawn him from 

' Only as a synonym for the prophetess 3 D'Herbelot, ' Soliman ben-Daoud.' 

Cassandra* * Philosophic der Geschichte, 151. 

lect. xxvi. HIS NAME. 1 43 

the religious interest which attaches to many others of the Jewish 
saints and heroes, yet in this very circumstance there are points 
of attraction indispensable to the development of the Sacred 
History. It enables us to study his reign more freely than is 
possible in the case of the more purely religious characters of 
the Bible. He is, in a still more exact sense than his father, 
1 one of the great men of the earth ' l — and, as such, we can 
deal with his history, as we should with theirs. It thus serves 
as a connecting link between the common and the Sacred 
world. To have had many such characters in the Biblical 
History would have brought it down too nearly to the ordinary 
level. But to have one such is necessary to show that the 
interest which we inevitably feel in such events and such men 
has a place in the designs of Providence, and in the lessons of 
Revelation. In Solomon, too, we find the first beginnings of 
that wider view which ended at last in the expansion of Judaism 
into Christianity. His reign contains the first historical record 
of the contact between Western Europe and Eastern India. In 
his fearless encouragement of ecclesiastical architecture is the 
first sanction of the employment of art in the service of a true 
Religion. In his writings and in the literature which springs 
from them, is the only Hebrew counterpart to the philosophy 
of Greece. For all these reasons, there is in him a likeness, 
one-sided indeed, of 'the Son of David,' in whom East and 
West, philosophy and religion, were reconciled together. 2 

Solomon was the second son of David and Bathsheba. 

There is something more than usually significant in hk names, 

arising probably from the peculiar circumstances of 

His names. ..... . r . . , 

his birth. His first name was Jedidiah, ' beloved by 
1 Jehovah,' said to have been given, perhaps by Nathan, as a 
sign of David's forgiveness — ' because Jehovah loved him.' 3 
It is a sanctification of the name of 4 David— the 'darling' be- 
comes 'Jehovah's Darling.' That by which he was afterwards 
known was 5 Shelomoh, ' The Peaceful ' (corresponding to the 

1 See Lecture XXIII. - See Jedidiah in Diet, of Bible. 

3 See Lecture XXVIII. * SaA^M^ of the LXX. is shortened 

2 Sam. xii. 25 ; Neh. xiii. 26. Pos- into 1a\6n.<ov in the N T., whence our 

sibiy Ps. exxvii. 3. Compare the change ' Solomon.' 
of Hoshea to Joshua. 

144 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvi. 

German ' Friedrich '), in contrast to David's wars, possibly in 
connexion with the great peace at the time of his birth. 1 In 
one version of David's address to Solomon, he tells his son 
that his birth had been predicted at the time when, after the 
capture of Jerusalem, he had first meditated the building of 
the Temple, and that the significance of his career had already 
been intimated. ' Behold a son shall be born to thee, who shall 

* be a man of rest ; and I will give him rest from all his enemies 
1 round about ; for his name shall be Shelomoh (peaceful) j and 
1 I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his day. He 
1 shall build an house for My name ; and he shall be My son, 
' and I his Father ; and I will establish the throne of his king- 

* dom over Israel for ever.' 2 

Nothing is known of his youth, unless it be that he was 
brought up by Nathan, 3 and that after the death of the two 
eldest and best beloved of David's earlier sons, Am- 
non and Absalom, he must have been regarded as the 
heir. He was Bathsheba's favourite son, ' tender and only be- 
1 loved in the sight of his mother,' 4 and Bathsheba, we cannot 
doubt, was David's favourite wife, and to her David had pledged 
her son's accession by a solemn and separate oath. 5 

But another son, in point of age, came next after Absalom 
— Adonijah, the son of Haggith. Of his mother we know 
Revolt of nothing but her name, 'the Dancer.' Like Absalom, 
Adonijah. j^ was re markable for his personal beauty ; and, like 
Absalom, he was dear to his father's heart. From the days of 
his early childhood at Hebron, it had been observed that the 
King had never put any restraint upon him — never had said, 
' Why hast thou done so ? ' 6 He, as his father's end approached, 
determined to anticipate the vacancy of the throne by seizing 
upon it himself. 7 What hidden springs were at work — how far 

1 See Lecture XXII. 6 i Kings i. 13, 17, 3°- According to 

3 1 Chron. xxii. 9. the Jewish tradition, after the death of the 
s 2 Sam. xii. 25 (Heb.), or (1 Chr. first child (Jerome on 2 Sam. xii.). 

xxvii. 32) by Jehiel. s 1 Kings i. 6. 

4 Prov. vi. 3. For some ingenious * ' The Shah of Persia, at the beginning 
conjectures as to the unfavourable in- 'of this century, had sixty sons, all 
flnences at work on his early education, 'brought up by their mothers with the 
see Professor Plumptre in the Diet, of ' hope of succeeding ' (Morier). 

the Bible, article Solomon. 

lect. xxvi. REVOLT OF ADONIJAH. 1 45 

(as seems implied) the new concubine of the aged King, Abishag 
the Shunammite, was in Adonijah's favour — whether, as has been 
conjectured, she was the beautiful Shulamite of the Canticles — 
whether Adonijah had already professed for her that affection 
which he openly avowed after his father's death — are amongst 
the secrets of the Harem of Jerusalem, of which only a few hints 
transpire, to awaken without satisfying our curiosity. * He took 
precisely the same course that had been adopted by Absalom. 
He assumed the same royal state and the same number of 
runners to clear the streets, and the same unwonted addition 
of horses to his chariots. 2 As Absalom had won over Ahitho- 
phel, so he won over the two chief amongst the old advisers of 
the King, each of whom probably had his own cause of quarrel. 
Abiathar's reasons for disaffection we can only infer from the 
rising favour of Zadok. Joab, as we have already seen, had 
more than one deep resentment brooding in his breast, and 
there is something mournful in the sigh that the sacred histo- 
rian heaves over the events which, at the close of his long life, 
at last broke the unshaken loyalty of the venerable soldier. 
' Though he had not turned after 3 Absalom, he turned after 
1 Adonijah.' The other Princes, his brothers, also joined him. 
If they were all living at this time, they were no less than fifteen 
in number. These, with the ' King's servants,' must have made 
a formidable band. The rendezvous was at a huge stone — ' the 
1 stone of serpents,' — near the spring of En-rogel, 4 where after- 
wards were the royal gardens, and where they would have at 
once a natural altar for the sacrificial feast, and water for the 
necessary ablutions. In this general disaffection there remained 
faithful to the cause of Solomon — ' the mighty men ; ' ' the body 
1 guard ; ' two high personages obscurely indicated as Shimei 5 

1 See this suggested by Mr. Grove, in Josephus (Ant. viii. i, § 4) : 'He turned 

the Dictionary of the Bible, article Shu- ' not after Solomon.' 

lamite, and curiously worked out by * It is doubtful whether this was the 

Professor Plumptre. present ' Fountain of the Virgin,' or ths 

a ' The runners (Shattir) before the well now called after Job or Joab. (See 

'king's horse in Persia are indispensable Lecture XXIV.) If the latter, the name 

' to the royal state. They go in a line two may possibly be taken from Joab in con- 

' and two, the chief by the king's stirrups ' nection with this incident. 

(Morier). s Either the famous P>enjamite, or more 

* 1 Kings ii. 28, or, less impressively, probably Shimeah, David's second brother, 

in the Vatican MS. of the LXX. and and Solomon's uncle. 


146 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvi. 

and Rei ; l Zadok, the younger Chief Priest, who also had a 
prophetic gift, and was known as the ' seer ; ' 2 and above all, 
Solomon's preceptor, the Prophet Nathan, who, now that Gad 
(as it seems) was dead, remained the chief representative of the 
Prophetic order. He, with Bathsheba, succeeded in rousing the 
languid energies of the aged King, who threw the whole weight 
of his great name into the scale of Solomon, and advised the 
course to be pursued. 

The boy Prince was mounted on the royal mule, and ac- 
companied by Nathan, and by Benaiah, the priestly head of the 
Coronation rova l g uar d, went down from the palace to Gihon. 3 
of Solomon. Zadok wa s present with the sacred oil, which, as 
Priest at the sanctuary at Gibeon, was in his custody, 4 and 
poured it on the young man's head, Nathan assisting in the 
ceremony, as Prophet. 5 Then 6 Zadok blew his sacred ram's 
horn, the trumpeters of the guard followed, as was from this 
time forward the custom at the inauguration of kings, 7 with a 
loud blast which announced to the assembled concourse the 
event which had just occurred. A shout went up — ' Long live 
' King Solomon ! ' amidst the acclamations of the multitude, 
who expressed their joy, after the manner of Orientals, in wild 
music and vehement dancing. 8 He was brought into the palace, 
and formally seated on the royal ' throne,' 9 and henceforth was 
addressed as ' King.' 10 The guests then entered the presence 
of David, and in the form of Eastern benediction said, ' God 
1 make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make 
' his throne greater than thy throne ; ' and the aged King, in 
spite of his infirmities, prostrated himself in acquiescence on 
his bed. 11 

The same trumpet-note which had roused the enthusiasm 
of the citizens of Jerusalem had startled the conspirators at 

1 According to Jewish traditions, the or astrologer, is there to fix ' the fortunate 
same as Ira ; according to Ewald, Raddai, hour' (Morier). 

David's fifth brother. ' 1 Kings i. 39 (LXX.). 

2 2 Sam. xv. 27. * 2 Kings ix. 13 ; xi. 14. 

s Probably Siloam. ' 1 Kings i. 40 (Heb. and LXX.). 

4 LXX. 1 Kings i. 39, 45. * Ibid. i. 46. Comp. ii. 12, 19 ; L 3<>» 

s ' In Persia, the Mushtched or chief 35, 37, 4 8 - 
ecclesiastical functionary is there to gird l0 Ibid. i. 39, 51, 53. 

on the sword ; the Munajem, the prophet " Ibid. i. 47. 

lbct. xxvi. HIS ACCESSION. 1 47 

Adonijah's feast. It struck on the watchful and experienced 
ear of Joab, and the next moment there rushed in upon them 
Jonathan, the son of the rebel Priest Abiathar, he who in the 
revolt of Absalom had been employed as a spy and a messenger, 
probably from the same qualities which made him on this day 
the first bearer of evil tidings. The festivities were broken off. 
Adonijah fled to the altar for refuge. His proposal to have 
Abishag for his wife, after his father's death, whether prompted 
by affection, or, as Solomon interpreted it, ambition, brought 
him shortly after to his end. And in the same ruin were in- 
volved the aged priest and warrior who had shared his fortunes. 
Abiathar was by the sovereign act of Solomon deposed from his 
office ; a momentary reminiscence of the great day, when he 
had stood by David with the Ark on Olivet, caused his life to 
be spared for the time, but only for the time. 1 He spent the 
short remnant of his days on his property at Anathoth, and 
with him expired the last glory of the house of Eli. His de- 
scendants might be seen prowling about the sanctuary, which 
their ancestors had once ruled, begging from their fortunate 
rivals a piece of 2 silver or a cake of bread. Joab fled up the 
steep ascent of Gibeon, and clung to the ancient brazen altar 
which stood in front of the Sacred Tent. The same disregard 
of ceremonial sanctity which the King had shown in deposing 
the venerable Abiathar, he now showed by deciding that even 
the sacredness of the altar was not to protect the man who 
had reeked with the blood of Abner and Amasa ; and, accord- 
ingly, the white-headed 3 warrior of a hundred fights, with his 
hands still clasping the consecrated structure, was executed by 
the hands of his ancient comrade Benaiah. The body was 
buried in funeral state at his own property in the hills over- 
hanging the Jordan valley. 4 Last of all, partly by his own 
rashness, perished the formidable neighbour, the aged Shimei, 5 
of the house of Saul. The mind of Christian Europe in- 
stinctively shudders at this cold-blooded vengeance on crimes 
long forgiven ; yet it may be that in the silent approbation of 

1 i Kings ii. 26. * 1 Kings ii. 28-34. Comp. 2 Sam. ii. 

3 Ibid. 27 ; i Sam. ii. 36. 33. 

1 1 Kings ii. 6. 5 Ibid. «. 9, 42. (Evrald, in. 272.) 

L 2 

148 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvi. 

Solomon's policy which the sacred narrative conveys, there is 
something of the same feeling which, translated into our lan- 
guage, bids us, in spite of our natural sentiments of pity and 
reverence, ' not spare the hoary head of inveterate abuse.' l 

It was this rapid suppression of all resistance that was 
known in the formal language of the time as the ' Establish- 
' ment ' or ' Enthronisation ' of Solomon. As David's oath had 
been, in allusion to the troubles of his early life, ' As the Lord. 
' liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of distress ' — so the 
oath of Solomon, in allusion to this signal entrance on his new 
reign, was, ' As the Lord liveth, which hath established me, and 
1 set me on the throne of David my father,' 2 without a rival or 
rebel to contest it. 

It was probably on the occasion of his final anointing or in- 
auguration on Mount Zion, that through Nathan, or through 
Zadok, the oracle was delivered, to which allusion is made in 
the second Psalm — 

* / have anointed My king 
On Zion, My holy mountain.' 3 

It was like a battle fought and won, of the new permanent 
organisation of the monarchy over the wild anarchical elements 
of the older system that had still lingered in the reign of David 
Joab, the Douglas of the house of David, was like a Douglas 
slain ; with the fall of Shimei, perished the last bitter represen- 
tative of the rival house of Saul ; the Chief Priest Abiathar, last 
of the house of Eli, was the last possessor of the now obsolete 
oracle of Urim and Thummim, the last survivor of David's 
early companions ; the young King triumphed over all the 
ancient factions of Israel, and in him triumphed the cause of 
monarchy and of civilisation for all coming time. It is fitting 
that from this accession — the first hereditary accession to the 
throne of Israel — should have been copied and descended, 
eren to our own day, the ceremonial of the coronation of 
Christian sovereigns — the coronation anthem, the enthronisa- 

1 Burke, as quoted in Strachey's Hebrew Politics, p. 131. 
a 1 Kings ii. 24. Compare i. 17, 30; ii. 12, 45, 46. 
s Ps. ii. 6, 7. (See EwakU 

lect. xxvi. HIS vTSIT TO GIBEON. I49 

tion, the trumpets, the wild acclamations, even the Eastern 
anointing. 1 

This wonderful calm must have been rendered doubly 
striking, if he was, as is most probable, but a mere boy at this 
time ; fifteen according to one tradition, twelve according to 
another ; in appearance, if not in years, 'a little child,' 'young 
* and tender.' 2 To this combination of incidents belongs the 
only narrative which exhibits his personal character. It con- 
tains in a lively form the prelude of the coming reign. 

The national worship was still in the unsettled state in 
which it had been since the first entrance into Palestine. ' The 
His visit to ' people sacrificed in high places. ' David himself 
Gibeon. had « worshipped ' on the top of Olivet 3 The two 
main objects of special reverence were parted asunder. The 
Ark stood in a temporary tent within David's fortress on Mount 
Zion. The chief local sanctity still adhered to the spot where 
4 the Tabernacle of the Congregation ' stood, on what was 
called 'the great high-place of Gibeon.' This was the lofty 
eminence which overlooks the whole of Judaea, in modern 
times known by the name of ' the Prophet Samuel.' 4 On the 
summit of this mountain was ' the Tabernacle of the Congrega- 
1 tion ' — the ancient Tent of the Wanderings. In front of it 
rose the venerable structure of the brazen altar, wrought by the 
hands of the earliest Israelite artist, Benzaleel, the grandson of 
Hur. In this Tabernacle ministered the Chief Priest Zadok, 
who had thence brought the sacred oil for the inauguration of 
Solomon, and who was now the sole representative of the 
Aaronic family. Hither, 5 therefore, as on a solemn pilgrimage, 
with a vast concourse of dignitaries, the young King came to 
offer royal sacrifices on his accession. A thousand victims 
were consumed on the ancient altar. The night was spent 
within the sacred city of Gibeon. 6 And now occurred one of 

1 The anointing of the Jewish kings is 30) twelve, 
r^coided only when the succession was 3 1 Kings iii. 2 ; 2 Sam. xv. 32. See 

contested. Lecture XXXVII. 

"i Kings iii. 7; 1 Chron. xxix, 1. • Neby Sam:,:/. 

According to 1 Kings xi. *z, xiv. 21, he s Josephus {Ant. viii. 2, § 1) has 

could not have been less than twenty. ' Hebron.' He makes the same change in 

But Josephus {Ant. viii. 7, § 8) makes him Ant. x. 9, § 5 ; comp. Jer. xli. 12. 
fifteen, Eupolemus (Euseb. Prcep. Ev. ix. ° Thenius conjectures that we should 

150 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvl 

those prophetic dreams which had already been the means of 
Divine communication in the time of Samuel. Thrice in 
Solomon's life — at the three epochs of his rise, of his climax, of 
his fall, — is such a warning recorded. This was the first. It 
was the choice offered to the youthful King on the threshold of 
life — the choice, so often imagined in fiction, and actually pre- 
sented in real life — 'Ask what I shall give thee.' The answer 
is the ideal answer of such a Prince, burdened with the re- 
sponsibility of his position. He remembered the high ante- 
cedents of his predecessor — ' Thou hast showed unto Thy ser- 

* vant David, my father, great mercy, according as he walked 
' before Thee in truth, and in uprightness, and in righteousness 
' of heart with Thee.' He remembered his own youth and 
weakness ; 'lam but a little child — I know not how to go out 
' or to come in.' He remembered the vastness of his charge; 

* In the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen : a great 
1 people which cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude : 
1 and who is able to judge this Thy people that is so great ? * 
He made the demand for the gift which he of all the heroes of 
the ancient Church was the first to claim : ' Give Thy servant 
1 an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may dis- 
1 cern between good and bad.' 1 

He showed his wisdom by asking for wisdom. He became 
wise, because he had set his heart upon it. This was to him 
the special aspect through which the Divine Spirit was to be 
approached, and grasped, and made to bear on the wants of 
men ; not the highest, not the choice of David, not the choice 
of Isaiah j but still the choice of Solomon. ' He awoke, and 

1 behold it was a dream.' But the fulfilment of it belonged to 
actual life. 

From the height of 2 Gibeon, the King returned to complete 
the festival of his accessi on before the other monument of the 
Mosaic Religion — the Ark at Jerusalem. It was in the midst 
of these sacrificial solemnities that his gift of judicial insight 

read Gibeon for Gihon in i Kings i. 33, 38, ' 1 Kings iii. 5 10 ; 2 Chr. i. 7-10. 

45. This would doubtless agree well with * It is just possible that the Wady 

2 Chron. i. 3, but is hardly consistent with Suleyman, which runs down from Gibeon 
the expressions in 1 Kings i. 33 ('bring towards the maritime plain, may have 
down ' 1, and 41 (' heard the ram's horn ')• received its name from this visit. 

lect. xiti. THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON. 1 51 

was first publicly attested. Every part of the incident is 
characteristic. l The two mothers, degraded as was their con- 
dition, came, as the Eastern stories so constantly tell 
mentof 8 of the humblest classes, to demand justice from 
Solomon. the Ring He patiently listens . the pe0 pi e stand by, 2 

wondering what the childlike sovereign will determine. The 
mother of the living child tells her tale with all the plaintive- 
ness and particularity of truth ; and describes how, as she 
* looked at him again and again, behold, it was not my son 
'which I did bear.' The King determines, by throwing him- 
self upon the instincts of nature, to cut asunder the sophistry 
of argument. The living child 3 was to be divided — and the 
one half given to one, the other half to the other. The true 
mother betrays her affection : ' O my lord, give her the living 
1 babe (the word is peculiar), and in no wise slay it.' The 
King repeats, word for word, the cry of the mother as if ques- 
tioning its meaning. ' Give her the living babe, and in no wise 
slay it ! ' then bursts forth into his own conviction, ' She is the 
1 mother.' 

The reign which was thus inaugurated is, after this, almost 
without events. For this reason, as well as from the confusion 
of the various texts which describe it, it must be viewed not 
chronologically, but under its different aspects, — of his Empire, 
his great buildings, and his writings. 

I. The Empire of Solomon in its external relations. In 

actual extent, the boundaries of Israel did not reach beyond 

the conquests of David. But it was reserved for 

relations of Solomon to fill up what David had but established in 

the Empire. part i pj e gj^ nave d om i n i n from sea to sea, and 

' from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.' 4 'The Lord 
1 magnified Solomon exceedingly, . . . and bestowed upon him 
1 such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in 
' Israel.' 6 For the most part this wide dominion was established, 
in accordance with the promise of his name, by arts of peace. 

1 i Kings iii. 16-28 (Heb.). The story * Ps. lxxii. 8. 

is omitted in 2 Chr. i. 13. * 1 Chr. xxix. 25. The connection 

2 Josephus, Ant. viii. 2, § 2. exactly in the style of the Assyrian inscrip- 
■ Or the two children, Josephus {Ibid.). tions. 

152. THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lkct. xsvi. 

But there were two or three exceptions, apparently at the com- 
mencement of his reign. 

It was, indeed, not surprising that the surrounding nations, 
especially Edom and Syria, when they heard of the accession 
of so young a sovereign, should have aspired to throw off the 
yoke which his warlike father had imposed upon them. Edom 
was the first A young Edomite prince, Hadad, had escaped 
from the extermination of his countrymen by the sword of 
Joab, at the time of David's conquest, and had lain concealed 
in the court of Egypt till the news arrived of the death of the 
two oppressors of his country. Against the will of his Egyp- 
tian protector he returned, and kept up more or less of a gue- 
rilla warfare amongst the Idumaean mountains, all the days of 
Solomon. * A second was Rezon, who had escaped from the rout 
of the Syrians in David's expedition against Zobah, and at the 
head of a band of freebooters established himself in Damascus. 2 

These, with possibly attempts at insurrection on the part of 
the whole Canaanite population, must be the upheavings which 
gave occasion to the 2nd Psalm. ' Why do the heathen 
' imagine a vain thing, and the rulers of the earth stand up 
' together against Jehovah and against His anointed ? ' All 
these tumultuary movements were waiting their time to break 
out as soon as Solomon was removed ; but, ' to him was given 
' the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of 
' the earth for a possession. He broke them with a rod of iron, 
1 and dashed them in pieces like a potter's vessel ; ' and over 
that vast dominion, with mingled joy and fear, he was served 
till the close of his magnificent career. 

1. In the north and north-east, Hamath, which apparently 
had thrown off the yoke on David's death, was recovered. 3 
Fortresses 4 were established along the heights of 
yna * Lebanon, and stations along the desert towards the 
Euphrates. Of these establishments two remain, which, partly 
by tradition, partly by resemblance of name, are connected 
with Solomon. One is Baalbec j the great sanctuary, which 

1 1 Kings xi. 14-22. * Ibid. 3-5. ' They that dwell in the 

* IMd. 23-25. 'wilderness shall bow before him ; his 

* 2 Chr. viii. 3, ' enemies shall lick the dust.' Ps. lxxii. 9. 


commanded the valley of Coelesyria, on the way to Hamath, 
and of which the enormous substructions l appear to date from 
an age far anterior to the Syro-Greek or Syro-Roman temples 
built upon them. Eastward his dominion extended to Thap- 
sacus (Tiphsach 2 ), and on the way to this is the other pro- 
bable memorial of his greatness, ' Tadmor in the wilderness ; ' 
if we may trust the native name which has clung to the famous 
city of Zenobia, in spite of its Roman appellation, by which it 
has been translated. 3 Its situation, in what must then have 
been a palm-grove, at the point where the wide barren valley 
enclosed between two parallel ranges of hills opens on the 
still wider desert, and where the abundant springs gather round 
it a circle of vegetation, would naturally have pointed it out to 
Solomon as a site for a city, or a halting-place for caravans 
half-way between Damascus and Babylon. The ruins which 
now attract the traveller's attention are of a time long posterior 
to the Jewish monarchy. But even as late as the twelfth cen- 
tury, Benjamin of Tudela describes its walls as being built of 
stones equally gigantic with those which form the glory of 
Baalbec. They have disappeared ; and of the ancient city, if 
so be, of Solomon, there are now no vestiges but mounds of 
rubbish and ruin, unless, as at Baalbec, some of the larger 
stones forming the substructions of the Temple of the Sun are 
of that date, 4 and the columns of Egyptian granite ascribed to 
Solomon at the entrance of the Temple. 5 

2. But the most important influences brought to bear on 
Relations tne development of the kingdom were those of 
with Egypt. Egypt, Arabia, and Tyre. 

Now, for the first time since the Exodus, Israel was again 
brought into contact with the kingdom of the Pharaohs. The 

1 Beyond the inference suggested by In i Kings ix. 18, the building of Tadmor 

the gigantic size of these remains, there is or Tamar is coupled with fortresses in the 

no certain indication of their Solomonian south of Palestine, and the words ' in the 

origin. ' Baalath,' of i Kings ix. 18, is in ' land ' are added, as if to show that ' the 

the south of Palestine. It may possibly be ' wilderness ' spoken of was that within 

'Eaal-Hamon' in Cant. viii. n, where Judaea, and to this would correspond the 

Solomon had vineyards. situation of Tamar CEzek. xlvii. 19), pro- 

* 1 Kings iv. 24. bably Hazazon-7awar or EngecU (2 Chr 

s This is expressly asserted by Jose- xx. 2). 
phas, Ant. viii. 6, 5 1, and implied in 2 * Miss Beaufort's Syrian Shriftes % L 

Chron. viii. 4. But here a doubt creeps in. 356. & Ibid. 360, 

1 54 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvi. 

Egyptian sovereign at this time was probably reigning l at Tanis. 
His Queen's name (Tahpenes) is preserved to us. 2 A corre- 
spondence with him, under the name of Vaphres, is preserved 
in heathen records. 3 

From the first moment of Solomon's accession, the Egyp- 
tian King was so favourably disposed towards the young Prince 
as to withdraw all countenance from the designs of Hadad, 
who had become his kinsman by marriage. Not long after- 
wards, his daughter became Solomon's Queen. 4 He had 
attacked and conquered the refractory Canaanite kingdom of 
Gezer, which had remained independent, on the south-western 
frontier of Palestine, and resisted the arms of all the Israelite 
chiefs from Joshua down to David, and which thus became the 
dowry of the Egyptian Princess. 5 

Besides the indirect influences which this connexion exer- 
cised, as we shall see, on the architecture, the manners, the 
literature, and the religion of Israel, it led at once to the re- 
establishment of an intercourse, which would have been incon- 
ceivable to the Hebrews who, standing on the shores of the 
Red Sea, seemed to have parted with the Egyptians for ever. 
Horses and chariots, before almost unknown in Palestine, were 
now brought in as regular articles of commerce from Egypt. 6 
Stables were established on an enormous scale, — both for 
horses and dromedaries. 7 Four miles out of Jerusalem, under 
the King's own patronage, a celebrated caravanserai for travel- 
lers into Egypt — the first halting-place on their route — was 
founded by Chimham, son of Barzillai, on the property granted 
to him by David out of the paternal patrimony of Bethlehem. 
The caravanserai remained with Chimham's name for at least 
four 8 centuries, and, according to the immovable usages of the 
East, it probably was the same which, at the time of the Chris- 
tian era, furnished shelter for two travellers with their infant 
Child, when ' there was no room in the inn,' and when they too 
from that spot fled into Egypt. 

1 Ewald, iii. 279. * Ibid. iv. 26, 27. For 40,000 in ver. 

3 1 Kings xi. 19. 26 Ewald (iii. 332) reads 4,000 or 4,200, 

3 Eusebius, Prap. Ev. ix. 31. from 2 Chr. ix. 25 ; three horses for each 

1 Kings iii. 1. of the chariots. 

5 Ibid. ix. 16. " Jer. xli. 17. „ 

6 Ibid. x. 28. 


3. Doubtless, through the same Egyptian influence, was 
secured a still more important outlet of commerce on the 
Relations south-east. Through the establishment of a port at 
with Arabia. the liead of the gulf of Elath, Palestine at last gained 
an access to the Indian Ocean. Ezion-geber, 'the Giant's 
1 back- bone,' so called probably from the huge range of moun- 
tains on each side of it, became an emporium teeming with life 
and activity ; the same on the eastern branch, that Suez has in 
our own time become on the western branch of the Red Sea. 
Beneath that line of palm-trees which now shelters the wretched 
village of Akaba, was then heard the stir of ship-builders and 
sailors. 1 Thence went forth the fleet of Solomon, manned by 
Tynan 2 sailors, on its mysterious voyage — to Ophir, in the far 
East, on the shores of India or Arabia. From Arabia also, 
near or distant, came a constant traffic of spices, both from 
private individuals and from the chiefs. 3 So great was Solo- 
mon's interest in these expeditions, that he actually travelled 
himself to the gulf of Akaba to see the port. 4 

4. The mention of the Tyrian sailors introduces us to 
another great power, now allied with Israel. Hiram, king of 
Relations Tyre, had already been the friend of David. But he 
with Tyre. was a still faster friend of Solomon. There is some- 
thing pathetic in the relationship between the old Phoenician 
and the young Israelite, a faint secular likeness of the romantic 
friendship of David and Jonathan. Hiram, too, has shared in 
Solomon's glory. Alone of all the Tyrian kings, his name is 
attached by popular tradition to a still existing monument. A 
grey weather-beaten sarcophagus of unknown antiquity, 5 raised 
aloft on three huge rocky pillars of stone, looks down from the 
hills above Tyre over the city and harbour, and still is called 
1 the Tomb of Hiram.' The traditions of this alliance lingered 
in both kingdoms. Tyrian 6 historians long recollected the 
interchange of riddles between the two sovereigns. The 
Tyrian archives, even as late as the Christian era, were sup- 

1 1 Kings ix. 26. s Eusebius, Prap. Ev. ix. 31. 

a Ibid. 27 ; 2 Chr. viii. 18 ; Josephus> 8 Dios and Menander, quoted by Jose 

Ant. viii. 6, § 4. phus, Ant. viii. 5, § 3 ; c. Apion. i. 17 

1 1 Kings x. is, 35. 18. See Lecture XXVIII. 
* a Chr. viii. 17. 


posed to contain copies of the many letters which had passed 
Two of these ! are preserved, written on the occasion of an 
embassy from Hiram, sent to anoint, or take part in the 
anointing of, Solomon. 2 Hiram supplied Tyrian 
architects and timber from Mount Lebanon for 
Solomon's temple. Solomon visited Hiram at Tyre, and was 
even supposed to have worshipped in a Sidonian Temple. 3 
He gave to Hiram the district of Galilee, on the borders of 
Tyre, which in the name of ' Cabul ' (or ' Gabul ') preserved a 
recollection of the humorous complaint of King Hiram to his 
royal brother for having given him the ' off-scourings ' of his 
dominions. 4 In its later name of 'the boundaries of Tyre 
' and 5 Sidon,' long after the extinction of the Phoenician 
power, it retained a reminiscence of the ancient friendship. 

But the main result of the alliance was in the extension of 
the commerce of both countries. Tyrian sailors were supplied 
to the fleet of Solomon, starting, as we have seen, in 
x P e toons. ^ e £ e( j g ea g ut there was a direct union in the 
Mediterranean also. Not only was there a navy of Ophir, 
that is, of the extreme east, but there was also, in express con- 
junction with the navy of Hiram, a navy of Tarshish, that is, 
of the extreme west. 6 

Without entering into the tangled question of the details of 
the two Hebrew texts which record the destination of the 
fleets, 7 we may dwell on the return of the voyagers, as they are 
described, with their marvellous articles of commerce, from 
west and east — gold and silver ; almug, ivory, aloes, cassia, cin- 
namon, apes, and peacocks. 

1 1 Kings v. 2-9. They are given in occurrence in a context which requires' 

slightly different forms in Josephus, Ant. Ophir as the destination. 

viii. 2, § 6, 7. * The arguments for a Western expedi- 

3 Ibid. v. 1 (LXX.). tion may be seen in Keil ; for an Eastern, 

a Justin, Dial. c. Tryph. c. 34. in Thenius. The two theories may be 

* 1 Kings ix. 12, 13. united by supposing a circumnavigation 
5 Matt. xv. 21. of Africa, in behalf of which is the three 

• This argument is based rather on the years, 1 Kings x. 22, and in Herod, iv. 42, 
distinct and separate mention of the fleets and the intimation in Pharaoh-Necho's 
of Ophir and of Tarshish, than on the Voyage (ibid.), that it was not the first 
mere use of the word ' ships of Tarshish ' time. The expedition may sometimes 
(1 Kings x. 22), or the expression ' to Tar- have gone from Ezion-geber, sometimes 
' shish,' in 2 Chr. ix. 21, xx. 36, of which from Tyre. 

latter passage the force is destroyed by its 


The ' abundance of silver ' probably came from the silver 
mines of Spain. The apes may possibly have come from that 
one spot where they exist in Europe, our own rock of Gib- 
raltar. Africa was the great gold country of the ancient world, 
and may also have furnished the elephants' tusks. 

But some of the articles themselves and the names of more 
point directly to India. ' Ophir,' * the seat of the gold, may 
be, not improbably, identified with the gold mines of Sumatra 
and Malacca. The almug or algum is the Hebraised form of 
a Deccan word for sandal wood, and sandal wood grows only 
on the coast of Malabar, south of Goa. The word for ape — 
'kapi' or l koph, J whence the Greek kebos — is the usual Sanscrit 
word for a monkey. Thukiyim, the name for 2 peacocks, is a 
Sanscrit word with a Malabar accent, and the peacock is indi- 
genous in India, and probably had not yet had time to extend 
into the west, as it afterwards did from the sanctuary of Juno 
at Samos. The word used for the tusks 3 of elephants is 
nearly the same in Sanscrit, and the fragrant wood and spices 
called aloes, 4 cassia, 5 and cinnamon, 6 are all, either by name or 
by nature, connected with India and Ceylon. 

Let us for a moment contemplate the extraordinary interest 
of these voyages for their own and for all future times. 

An admirable passage in Mr. Froude's history 7 of Elizabeth 
describes the revolution effected in England when the maritime 
tendency of the nation for the first time broke through the 
rigid forms in which it had hitherto been confined. Much 
more marvellous must have been the revolution effected by 
this sudden disruption of the barriers by which the sea now 
became familiar to the secluded inland Israelites. Shut out 

1 The argument in favour of the Indian from ' Ahalim ' (Ps. xlv. 8 ; Prov. vii. 17 ; 

position of Ophir, as well as the Indian Cant. iv. 14), a fragrant tree of Malacca — 

origin of these words, is stated by Ritter, agila, hence agelloduacum, aquileca — 

Sinai, pp. 148-431 ; Max Muller, in eagle-wood. The only non-Solomonian 

Science of Language, p. 214. The argu- passage, where the word occurs in Num. 

ment in favour of its African, and still xxiv. 6, in speaking of the gardens of th« 

more of its Arabic position, is stated by Euphrates. 

Mr. Twistleton in the Dictionary of the 5 Ps. xlv. 8, Katzioth, Indian koost. 

Bible, Ophir. s Probably cacyn-nama from Ceylon — 

* Peacocks are kept in the gardens of Prov. vii. 17 ; Cant. iv. 14 ; also in Arabia, 
the Shah of Persia (Morier). Ex. xxx. 23 (comp. Herod, iii. in) ; and 

* Ibba and Shen Habbitn. Tyre, Ezek. xxvii. 19. 

* By a likeness of a sound translated 7 History of England, viii. p. 426. 

158 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvi. 

from the Mediterranean by the insufficiency of the ports of 
Palestine, and from the Indian Ocean by the Arabian desert, 
only by these extensive alliances and enterprises could they 
become accustomed to it. We know not when the Psalms 
were written which contain the allusions to the wonders of the 
sea, and which by these have become endeared to a maritime 
empire like our own ; but, if not composed in the reign of 
Solomon, at least they are derived from the stimulus which he 
gave to nautical discovery. The 104th Psalm seems almost as 
if it had been written by one of the superintendents of the 
deportations of timber from the heights of Lebanon. The 
mountains, the springs, the cedars, the sea in the distance, 
with its ships and monster brood, are combined in that land- 
scape as nowhere else. 1 The 107th describes, with the feeling 
of one who had been at sea himself, the sensations of those 
who went down from the hills of Judah to the ships of Jaffa, 
and to their business in the great waters of the Mediterranean ; 
the sudden storm, the rising to the crest of the waves as if to 
meet the heavens, and then sinking down as if into the depths 
of the grave ; the staggering to and fro on deck, the giddiness 
and loss of thought and sense ; and to this, in the Book of 
Proverbs, is added a notice rare in any ancient writings, unique 
in the Hebrew Scriptures, of the well-known signs of sea- 
sickness j where the drunkard is warned that if he tarries long 
at the wine, he shall be reduced to the wretched state of ' him 
■ that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth 
' down before the rudder.' 2 

Not only were these routes of commerce continued through 
the Tyrian merchants into Central Asia, and by the Red Sea, 
till the foundation of Alexandria, but the record of them 
awakened in Columbus the keen desire to reopen by another 
way the wonders which Solomon had first revealed. When 
Sopora in Hayti became known, it was believed to be the 
long-lost Ophir. When the mines of Peru were explored, 
they were believed to contain the gold of Parvaim. The very 
name of the West Indies given by Columbus to the islands 

1 See Sermons in the B-ist, Appendix, p. 217, and Sinai and Palestine, Chapter 
XI. * Prov. xxiii. 30, 34. 

t.kct. xxvi. ITS EXTERNAL CONDITIONS. 1 59 

where first he landed is a memorial of his fixed belief that he 
had reached the coast of those Indies in the Eastern world 
which had been long ago discovered by Solomon. 

Imagine too the arrival of those strange plants and animals 
enlivening the monotony of Israelitish life ; the brilliant metals, 
the fragrant woods, the gorgeous peacock, the chattering ape — 
to that inland people, rare as the first products of America to 
the inhabitants of Europe. Observe the glimpse given to us, 
into those remote regions, here seen for an instant. Now for 
the first time Europe was open to the view of the Chosen 
People— Spain, the Peru of the old world, Tartessus, Cadiz 
(the * Kadesh] the western sanctuary of the Phoenician people), 
the old historic Straits — the vast Atlantic beyond — possibly 
our own islands, our own Cornish coasts, which had already 
sent the produce of their mines into the heart of Asia — were 
seen by the eyes of Israelites. And on the other side the 
inventory of the articles brought in Solomon's fleets gives us 
the first distinct knowledge of that venerable Sanscrit * tongue, 
the sacred language of primeval India, the parent language of 
European civilisation. In the thousandth year before the 
Christian era, we see that it not only was in existence, but 
already had begun to decay. The forms of speech which the 
sailors of Hiram heard on the coast of Malabar are no longer 
the pure Sanscrit of earlier days. In these rude terms, the 
more interesting on this account, thus embedded in the 
records of the Hebrew nation, we grasp the first links of the 
union between the Aryan and the Semitic races. 

And finally, not only in this philological and prospective 
sense, but in the true historical and religious sense, was this 
union of the East and the West, of remote Asia, and of remote 
Europe, in the highest degree significant for the development 
of Israel. United then in Palestine, as they were united no- 
where else in the ancient world, there was thus realised the 
first possibility of their final amalgamation in Christendom. 
The horizon first framed in the time of Solomon, after being 
again and again contracted, has now even in outward form 
reached even beyond its old limits of Ophir and Tarshish, 

1 Max Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language, i. 144. 

l6o THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvi. 

and much more in the combination of inward moral qualities 
which mark the Christian Religion. Christianity alone, of all 
Religions, is on the one hand Oriental by its birth, and yet 
capable of becoming Western by its spirit and its energy. 
1 The Kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents 
1 (from the West) : the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts 
1 (from the East). For all kings shall fall down before him : 
' all nations shall serve him/ 1 So it was said already in the 
days of Solomon ; and in a still wider sense, and with a still 
more direct application to the gathering together of these 
diverse elements in the Messiah's reign, was the strain taken 
up by the later Prophet — in language which, though entirely 
his own, could never have been suggested to him, except 
through the imagery of the Empire of Solomon. After an- 
nouncing how the treasures of the world were to come to 
Jerusalem — ' The abundance of the sea shall be converted 

* unto Thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto Thee ' 
— he turns, on the one hand, to the East : — ' The multitude of 

* camels shall cover Thee, the dromedaries of Midian and 

* Ephah j all they from Sheba shall come ; they shall bring 

* gold and incense. . . . All the flocks of Kedar shall be 

* gathered to Thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto 

* Thee ; they shall come up with acceptance unto Mine altar,' 
and on the other hand, to the far West — ' Who are these that 

* fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows ? Surely 

* the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to 

* bring their sons from afar, their silver and gold with them. 
1 . . . And the sons of strangers shall build up Thy walls, and 
1 their kings shall minister unto Thee. . . . Therefore Thy 
1 gates shall be open continually ; they shall not be shut day 
'or night.' 2 This is the latitude of the Old Dispensation, 
containing in germ the still wider latitude of the New. 

II. From the external Empire of Solomon we pass to the 
internal state of his dominions. It has been already observed 
internal that the Hebrew people, unlike other ancient nations, 
peace. ^ not pi ace t ^ e j r g id en age in the remote past, 

but rather in the remote future. But, so far as there was any 

1 S«c P». lxxii. io, ix. * Imiah lx. 5-1 1. 


historical period in which it seemed to be realised, it was under 
the administration of Solomon. The general tone of the records 
of his reign is that of a jubilant delight, as though it were indeed 
a golden day following on the iron and brazen age of the warlike 
David and his half-civilised predecessors. The heart of the 
poets of the age overflows with ■ the beautiful words ' l of loyal 
delight. The royal justice and benevolence are like the wel- 
come showers in the thirsty East. The poor, for once, are 
cared for. The very tops of the bare mountains seem to wave 
with corn, as on the fertile slopes of Lebanon. 2 

And with this poetic description of the peace and plenty 
with which the rugged hills of Palestine were to smile, agrees 
the hardly less poetic description of the prose narrative. ' Judah 

* and Israel,' both divisions of the people, now for the last time 
united in one, ' were many as the sand which is by the sea in 
1 multitude ; eating and drinking, and making merry. . . . 
1 Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his own 

* vine ' (that is the vine that clustered round his court) ' and 
1 under his own fig-tree ' (that is the fig which grew in his 
garden), ' from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solo- 
mon.' 3 The wealth which he inherited from David, and 
which he acquired from his own revenue, whether from com- 
merce or from the royal domains, and from taxes 4 and tributes, 
is described as enormous. So plentiful was gold that ' silver 
1 was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.' 5 And of 
a like strain is the joyous little hymn, ascribed to Solomon, 
which describes the increase, the vigour, the glory of the rising 
and ever-multiplying population — the peaceful ease of all 
around, where ' it is but lost labour to rise up early, and sit 
1 down late, and eat the bread of carefulness ; ' where blessings 
seemed to descend even on the unconscious sleeper — where 
the children are shot to and fro as the most powerful of all 
weapons from the bows of irresistible archers. 6 The very 

1 Ps. xlv. i (Heb.) ; I assume this as first suggestion of the mystical number of 

the most probable date of the Psalm. (See Rev. xiii. 18. The treasures left by David 

Perowne.) for building the Temple, in i Chr. xxix. 

3 Ps. lxxii. 2, 5, 6, 7, 13, 16. 1-7, amount, it is computed, to eight 

* 1 Kings iv. 20-25. millions sterling. 

* Ibid. x. 14, 666 talents of gold. Pos- s 1 Kings x. 21. 
sibly (as Professor Plumptre makes it) the * Ps. cxxvii. .-. 4, 

II. M 

162 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lect. ixyi. 

names of the two successors under whom this flourishing state 
was disordered, seem to bear witness to the abundance and 
brightness of the days when they were born and bred — Reho- 
boam, 'the widening of the people ' — Jeroboam, ' the multiplier 
1 of the people.' 

For this altered state of things a new organisation was 
needed Although the offices of the court were generally the 
same as those in David's time, the few changes that occur are 
significant of the advance in splendour and order. 

The great officers are now for the first time called by one 
general name — ' Princes ' ! — a title which before had been 
Court of almost confined to Joab. The union of priestly and 
Solomon. secular functions still continued. Zabud, ' the King's 
* friend,' is called a priest 2 no less than Azariah, the son of 
Zadok. But on the other hand, the name is not extended, as 
in David's court, to the royal family ; thus perhaps indicating 
that the division of the two functions was gradually becoming 
perceptible. Instead of the one scribe or secretary, there were 
now two, Elihoreph or Eliaph, and Ahijah, sons of the old 
scribe Shisha. 3 The two 'counsellors,' who occupied so im- 
portant a place by David, now disappear. Probably the coun- 
sellors were so increased in number as to form a separate body 
in the state, as in the next reign there was a band of aged ad- 
visers, known as 'those who had stood before Solomon.' 4 The 
Prophets cease to figure amongst the dignitaries ; as though 
the prophetical office had been overborne by the royal dignity. 
The Chief Priesthood, as we have seen, was concentrated in 
Zadok alone, and from him descended a peculiar hierarchy, 
known by the name of sons of Zadok, 5 the possible origin 
(whether from their first ancestor's opinions, or from a tradi- 
tionary adherence to the Old Law) of the later sect of the 

The three military bodies seem to have remained un- 

1 Sharim, i Kings iv. 2. them, Benaiah and Jehiel, the tutors of 

2 Ibid. 5 {Cohen, A. V. 'principal the Princes. 

'officer'). 5 - I hr. xxxi. 10. Ez. xl. 46, xliii. 19, 

3 Ibid. 3. &c. See Mr. Twisleton on Sadducees, 

4 r P^Lings xii. fi. Jerome mentions in Dictionary of the Bible, p. 10S5. 
(Qucest. Hebr. on 2 Chr. x. 6) as amongs 

lect. xxvi. ITS INTERNAL STATE. 1 63 

changed. The commander of the ' host ' is the priestly warrior 
Camp of Benaiah, who succeeded the murdered Joab. The 
Solomon. s j x hundred heroes of David's early life only once 
pass across the scene. Sixty of them, their swords as of old 
girt on their thighs, attended Solomon's litter, to guard him 
from banditti on his way to Lebanon. 1 The guard appear 
only as household troops, employed on state pageants, and 
apparently commanded by 2 the officer now mentioned for the 
first time, at least in the full magnitude of his post. He was 

* over the household,' in fact the Vizier, and keeper of the 
royal treasury 3 and armoury. 4 In subsequent reigns he is de- 
scribed as wearing an official robe, girt about with an official 
girdle, and carrying on his shoulder as a badge, like a sword of 
state, the gigantic key of the house of David. 5 The office was 
held by Ahishar. 6 In the Arabian legends it is given to the 
great musician Asaph. 7 

The only two functionaries who retained their places from 
David's time were Jehoshaphat, the historiographer or re- 
corder, and Adoram or Adoniram, the tax collector. 8 These 
were probably appointed when very young, at the time when 
David's reign was gradually settling into the peaceful arrange- 
ment of later times. 

The word 9 which elsewhere is used for the garrisons planted 
in a hostile country, is now employed for ' officers ' appointed 
. . . . by the King of Israel over his own subjects. They 

Administra- J . & . * . * 

tion of were divided into two bodies, both alike, as it would 

seem, directed by a new dignitary, who also appears 

for the first time — Azariah, son of the Prophet Nathan, ' who 

* was over the officers.' 10 

The lesser body consisted of twelve chiefs, in number cor- 
responding to the twelve princes of the twelve tribes, who had 

1 Cant. iii. 7, 8. x. 5, xiii. 3, 4, 1 Chr. xi. 16, for Philistine 

a i Kings xiv. 27. garrisons in Judaea ; and in 2 Sam. viii. 6, 

3 Isa. xxii. 15. 14, 1 Kings xxii. 47, 1 Chr. xviii. 13, 2 

* 1 Kings xiv. 27. Chr. xvii. 2 for Israelite garrisons), are 
' Isa. xxii. 21, 22. used in 1 Kings iv. 5, 7, 19, 27, ix. 23, 
' 1 Kings iv. 6 (LXX. adds Eliak). 2 Chr. viii. 10, for the officers of Solomon. 

* D'Herbelot, article Assaf. The Hebrew term answers in some degree 
" 1 Kings iv. 6, xii. 18. to the English word 'post.' 

* Netsib, and Nitssab (used in 1 Sam. 10 1 Kings iv. 5. 

M 1 

/<*4 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvi. 

administered the kingdom under David, and to the twelve sur- 
veyors of his pastures and herds. 1 It is to the latter division 
that the twelve ' officers ' of Solomon corresponded, as they 
were arranged not according to the tribal divisions, and as their 
sole function was to furnish provisions for the royal household. 
Two of them were sons-in-law of the King. 2 

The larger body of 'officers' were chosen from the Israelites, 
to control the taskwork exacted from the Canaanite population. 3 
The foreign populations within his dominions were, after the 
first ineffectual attempt at insurrection, completely cowed. The 
Hittite chiefs were allowed to keep up a kind of royal state, 
with horses and chariots ; 4 but the population generally was 
employed, like the aboriginal inhabitants of Greece, on public 
works, and was heavily taxed. 5 Several important fortresses 
were created to keep them in check : one in the extreme north, 
in the old Canaanite capital of Hazor; a second in the Canaan- 
ite town of Megiddo, commanding the plain of Esdraelon j a 
third on the ruins of the Philistine city of Gaza, which had 
maintained its independence longest of all ; two in the villages 
of Bethoran at the upper and lower ends of the pass of that 
name, and one at Baalath or Kirjathjearim. The three last- 
named forts commanded the approaches from Sharon and 
Philistia to Jerusalem. 6 

From the Canaanite bondmen were probably descended the 
degraded class, standing last in the list of those who returned 
from Babylon — ' the children of Solomon's slaves.' 7 They were 
apparently employed in the quarries, as those who appear next 
above them, the Nethinim, were in the forests. 

The public works of Solomon were such as of themselves to 
leave an impress on his age. Of his doubtful connexion with 
Tadmor and Baalbec we have already spoken. But there is no 
question of those more immediately connected with his court 
and his residence. 

Jerusalem itself received a new life from his accession. It 

1 i Kings iv. 7 ; i Chr. xxvii. 16-31. • 1 Kings ix. 15-18 ; 2 Chr. viii. 4-6. 

3 1 Kings iv. 11, 15. ' Ezra ii. 55 ; Neh. vii. 57. See Pro- 

s 1 Kings ix. 23 ; 2 Chr. viii. 10. fessor Plumptre, in the Dictionary of the 

* Ibid. x. 29. Bible, under Solomon's Servants. 

* J bid. ix. 20, at. 

lect. xxvi. ITS INTERNAL STATE. 165 

has even been conjectured that the name first became fixed 
through his influence; being in its latter part an echo, 
as it were, of his own — ■ peace.' When the Greeks 
gave their form to the name, they were guided by a remem- 
brance of his name. ' Hierosolyma,' in their estimate, was the 
1 Hieron ' or Temple of Solomon. 1 In any case Jerusalem now 
assumed the dimensions and the splendour of a capital. It 
became the centre of the commercial routes before mentioned, 
and Jewish tradition described 2 the roads leading into Jerusa- 
lem, marked, as they ran over the white limestone of the 
country, by the black basaltic stones of their pavement. The 
city was enclosed with a new wall, 3 which, as the reign advanced, 
the King increased in height and fortified with vast towers. 
The castle or city of David was fortified by an ancient, per- 
haps Jebusite, rampart, known by the name of ■ Millo,' or the 
1 house of Millo,' of which, possibly, remains still exist on the 
west of the Temple wall. 4 The master of these works was 
Jeroboam, 5 then quite a youth. 

Amongst these buildings, the Palace of Solomon was pro- 
minent. It was commenced at the same time as the Temple, 
but not finished till eight years afterwards. The 
occasion of its erection was the marriage of Solomon 
with the Egyptian princess. She resided at first in the castle 
of David; but the King had still a scruple about the reception of 
a heathen, even though it were his own Queen, in precincts which 
had once been hallowed by the temporary sojourn of the Ark. 6 

The new Palace must have been apart from the castle of 
David, and considerably below the level of the Temple-mount. 
It was built on massive substructions of enormous stones, care- 
fully hewn, 7 and was enclosed within a large court. It included 
several edifices within itself. The chief was a long hall which, 
like the Temple, was encased in cedar ; whence probably its 
name, ' The House of the Forest of Lebanon.' 8 In front of it, 

1 Eupolemus, in Eusebius, Prap. Ev. * Ibid. iii. i ; 2 Chr. viii. it. 

ix. 34. ' 1 Kings vii. 9. 

' Josephus, Ant. viii. 7, § 4. 8 1 Kings vii. 2. In like manner, the 

3 1 Kings iii. 1 ; ix. 15 ; Josephus, Temple was called ' Lebanon ' (Reland, 

Ant. viii. 2, § 1 ; 6, § 1. Palest. 313). According to Josephus 

* 1 Kings ix. 15, 24 ; xi. 27. (viii. 5, § 2), it was sculptured with leafy 

6 Ibid. xi. 27, 28. (Heb.) trees. 

166 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. user. xxvi. 

ran a pillared portico. Between this portico and the palace 
itself was a cedar porch— sometimes called the Tower of David. 
In this tower, apparently hung over the walls outside, were a 
thousand golden shields, which gave the whole palace the name 
of the Armoury. 1 With a splendour that outshone any like 
fortress, the tower with these golden targets glittered far off in 
the sunshine like the tall neck, as it was thought, of a beautiful 
bride, decked out after the manner of the East, with strings of 
golden coins. Five hundred of them were made by Solomon's 
orders for the royal guard, 2 but the most interesting were the 
older five hundred, which David had carried off in his Syrian 
wars from the guard of Hadadezer, 3 as trophies of arms and 
ornaments, in which the Syrians specially excelled. 4 It was 
these which, being regarded as spoils won in a sacred cause, 
gave, in all probability, occasion to the expression : ' The 
* shields of the earth belong unto God.' 5 

This porch was the gem and centre of the whole Empire ; 
and was so much thought of that a smaller likeness to it was 
The porch erected in another part of the royal precinct for the 
and throne. Q ueen< 6 within the porch itself was to be seen the 
King in state. 7 On a throne of ivory, brought from Africa or 
India, the throne of many an Arabian legend, the Kings of 
Judah were solemnly seated on the day of their accession. 
From its lofty seat, and under that high gateway, Solomon and 
his successors after him delivered their solemn judgments. 
That ' porch ' or ' gate of justice ' still kept alive the likeness of 
the old patriarchal custom of sitting in judgment at the gate ; 
exactly as the Gate of Justice still recalls it to us at Granada, 
and the Sublime Porte — ' the Lofty Gate ' at Constantinople. 
He sate on the back of a golden bull, its head turned over its 
shoulder, probably the ox or bull of Ephraim ; under his feet, 

1 Cant. iv. 4 ; Isa. xxii. 8 ; Ps. Ixxvi. 4. arms hung round the walls of the second 

(Heb.) At Tyre, the beauty of the place Temple (Josephus, Ant. xv. n, § 3). 
was thought to consist in the splendour 2 1 Kings x. 16, 17. 

and variety of the shields all nations hung 3 2 Sam. viij. 7 (LXX.). See Lecture 

on its walls (Ezek. xxvii. 10, 11). In XXIII. 
Rome the temple of Bellona was studded * Isa. xxii. 6. 

with them. In Athens, the round marks 6 Ps. xlvii. 9. 

where they hung can still be traced on the " 1 Kings vii. 8. 

walls of the Parthenon. There were also 7 Ibid. 7. 


lbct. xxvi. ITS INTERNAL STATE. 1 67 

on each side of the steps, were six golden lions, probably the 
lions of Judah. 1 This was 'the seat of Judgment.' This was 
* the throne of the House of David.' 2 

His banquets were of the most superb kind. All his plate 
and drinking vessels were of gold ; ' none were of silver j it 
The ban- ' was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.' 3 
quets. His household daily consumed thirty oxen, a hundred 

sheep, besides game of all kinds — 'harts, roebucks, fallow deer, 
1 and fatted fowl,' probably for his own special table, from the 
Assyrian Desert. 4 There was a constant succession of guests. 5 
One class of them are expressly mentioned — Chimham and 
his brothers. 6 The train of his servants was such as had never 
been seen before. There were some who sate in his presence, 
others who always stood, others who were his cupbearers, 7 
others musicians. 8 

His stables were on the most splendid scale. Up to this 
time, except in the extravagant ambition of Absalom and Ado- 
nijah, chariots and horses had been all but unknown 
in Palestine. In the earlier times, the ass had been 
the only animal used, even for princes. In David's time, the 
King and the Princes of the royal family rode on mules. But 
Solomon's intercourse with Egypt at once introduced horses 
into the domestic establishment, cavalry into the army. For 
the first time, the streets of Jerusalem heard the constant rattle 
of chariot wheels. Four thousand 9 stalls were attached to the 
royal palace — three horses for each chariot, and dromedaries 
for the attendants. The quantity of oats and of straw was so 
great that special officers were appointed to collect it. 10 There 
was one chariot of extraordinary 1 ' beauty, called the chariot of 
Pharaoh, in which the horses with their trappings were so grace- 
ful as to be compared to a bride, in her most magnificent 

In the true style of an Asiatic sovereign, he established 

1 1 Kings x. 18-20 ; 2 Chr. be. 17-19 ; by the Goths (Weil, Bibl. Legends). 
Josephus, Ant. viii. 5, § 2. « 1 Kings ii. 7. 

a Ps. exxii. 5. » ibid. x. 5. 

■ 1 Kings x. 21. • Eccles. ii. 8. 

4 1 Kings iv. 22-24, *• 5- 9 40,000 in 1 Kings iv. 26 ; 4,000 or 

s Ibid. 27. The golden table itself was 4,200 in 2 Chr. ix. 25. 
believed to have been preserved in Spain >• 1 Kings iv. 28. ,l Cant. i. 9. 

1 68 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. ibct. xxvi. 

what his successors on the northern throne of Israel afterwards 
kept up at Samaria and Jezreel, but what he alone 
1S * attempted in the wild hills of Judaea — gardens and 
1 parks (paradises), and trees of all kinds of fruit, and reservoirs 
' of water to water the trees.' 1 One of these was probably in 
the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the spot afterwards 2 known 
as ' the king's garden,' at the junction of the valleys of Hinnom 
and the Kedron. Another was south of Bethlehem, probably 
that called by 3 Josephus 'Etham,' a spot still marked by three 
gigantic reservoirs, which bear the name of the Pools of Solo- 
mon. A long covered aqueduct, built by him, and restored by 
Pilate, still runs along the hill side, and conveys water to the 
thirsty capital. The adjoining valley (the Wady Urtas) winds 
like a river, marked by its unusual verdure, amongst the rocky 
knolls of Judaea. The huge square mountain which rises near 
it probably represents ' Beth-hac-cerem ' (' House of the Vine '), 
so called from the vineyards which Solomon planted, as its 
modern Arabic name ' Fureidis,' * the little Paradise,' must be 
derived from the ' Paradise ' (the very word used in the Book 
of Ecclesiastes and the Canticles) of the neighbouring park. 
Thither, at early dawn, according to the Jewish tradition, he 
would drive out from Jerusalem in one of his numerous 
chariots, drawn by horses of unparalleled swiftness and beauty, 
himself clothed in white, followed by a train of mounted 
archers, all splendid youths, of magnificent stature, dressed in 
purple, their long black hair flowing behind them, powdered 
with gold dust, which glittered in the sun, as they galloped 
along after their master. 4 

A third resort was far away in the north. On the heights of 
Hermon, beyond the limits of Palestine, looking over the plain 
of Damascus, in the vale of Baalbec, in the vineyards of Baal- 
hamon, were cool retreats from the summer heat. Thither, 
with pavilions of which the splendour contrasted with the 
black tents of the neighbouring Arabs, Solomon retired. 5 

From Solomon's possessions on the northern heights, ' from 

1 Eccles. ii. 5, 6. * Ibid. 

' 2 Kings xxv. 4 ; Neh. iii. 15. ' Cant. iv. 8, viii. 11, i. 5. 

' Josegjius, Ant. viii. 7, § 3. 

tier. xxvi. ITS INTERNAL STATE. t6Q 

1 Lebanon, the smell of Lebanon, the streams of Lebanon, the 
1 tower of Lebanon looking towards Damascus ; ' ! ' from the 
1 top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the 
' lions' dens, from the leopards' dens,' on those wild rocks ; 
from the fragrance of ' those mountains of myrrh, those hills of 
1 frankincense ; ' ' the roes and young harts on the mountains 
' of spices,' 2 the spectator looks out over the desert plain; a 
magnificent cavalcade approaches amidst the clouds of incense ; 
then, as now, burnt to greet the approach of a mighty prince. 3 
' Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of 
1 amoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all 
* powders of the merchant ? Behold his litter : it is Solomon's. 
1 . . . King Solomon hath made himself a palanquin of the 
1 wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the 
1 bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple ; the centre 
1 of it is wrought with beautiful work by the daughters of Jeru- 
1 salem. Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King 
'Solomon.' 4 

In the midst of this gorgeous array was the Sovereign him- 
self. The King is fair, with superhuman beauty — his sword is 
on his thigh 5 — he rides in his chariot, or on his war- 
e ing horse ; his archers are behind him, his guards are 
round him ; his throne is like the throne of God ; his sceptre 
is in his hand. He wears the crown, which, as still in Eastern 
marriages, his mother placed upon his head in the day of his 
espousals ; he is radiant as if with the oil and essence of glad- 
ness ; his robes are so scented with the perfumes of India or 
Arabia that they seem to be nothing but a mass of 6 myrrh, 
aloes and cassia; out of his palaces 7 comes a burst of joyous 
music, of men-singers and 8 women-singers, the delights of the 
sons of men, musical instruments of all sorts. 

The Queen, probably from Egypt, the chief of 

and Queen. ^ ' f. J . bJ ^ ' 

all his vast establishment of wives and concubines, 
themselves the daughters of kings, was by his side, glittering in 

1 Cant. iv. 8, n, 15, vii. 4. * Cant. iii. 6-n. 

a Ibid. 6, 8, viii. 14. s Ps. xlv. 3. Like those of his atten- 

* See Ginsburg on Cant. iii. 6. A like dants, Cant. iii. 8. 

incident occurred on the entrance of the * Ps. xlv. 8 (Perowne). 

Prince of Wales into Beyrfit. 7 Ibid. 9 (Perowne). ■ Eccles. ii. 8. 

1^0 THE EMPIRE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxyi. 

the gold of Ophir j one blaze of glory, 1 as she sate by him in the 
interior of the palace ; the gifts of the princely state of Tyre 
are waiting to welcome her — her attendants gorgeously arrayed 
are behind her ; she has left her father and her father's house ; 
her reward is to be in the greatness of her descendants. 

Such is the splendour of Solomon's court, which, even down 
to the outward texture of their royal robes, lived in the latest 
traditions of Israel. When Christ bade His disciples look on 
the bright scarlet and gold of the spring flowers of Palestine, 
which ' toil not, neither do they spin,' He carried back their 
thoughts to the ^reat King, ' Solomon,' who, ' in all his glory 
1 was not arrayed like one of these.' 2 He had no mightier 
comparison to use ; He Himself — we may be allowed to say 
so, for we feel it as we read His words — was moved by the 
recollection to the same thrill of emotion which the glory of 
Solomon still awakens in us. 

* P«. xlv. 13 (PwowneX * Matt. vi. ag. 

law. xxvn. THE TEMPLE. 17 1 



In the following Lecture the authorities are :— 

i Kings vi.-viii. ; 2 Chr. iii.-vii. ; Ezek. xl.-xlvi. ; Josephus, Ant. viii. 3 and 4; and 
(though chiefly relating to the second Temple) the Tract Middoth in the Mishna. 

The modern works on the subject are too numerous to cite. But I wish to express my 
obligations for the oral assistance given me by Professor Willis, of Cambridge, in the 
general idea of the Temple ; and also by a former pupil, the Rev. W. H. Lowder, par- 
ticularly in regard to the illustrations to be derived from the descriptions in Ezekiel. 

Of all the monuments of the internal administration of Solomon, 
none is to be compared in itself, or in its effect on the future 
m m , character of the people, with the building of the 

The Temple. * 1 T* 

Temple. It was far more than a mere architectural 
display. It supplied the framework of the history of the king- 
dom of Judah. As in the Grecian tragedies we always see in 
the background the gate of Mycenae, so in the story which we 
are now to traverse, we must always have in view the Temple 
of Solomon. There is hardly any reign which is not in some 
way connected with its construction or its changes. In front 
of the great church of the Escurial in Spain — in the eyes of 
Spaniards itself a likeness of the Temple — overlooking the 
court called from them the Court of the Kings, are six colossal 
statues of the kings of Judah, who bore the chief part in the 
Temple of Jerusalem : — David, the Proposer ; Solomon, the 
Founder ; Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, Manasseh, the suc- 
cessive Purifiers and Restorers. The idea there so impres- 
sively graven in stone runs through the history which we have 
henceforward to consider. 

The creation of this new scene of sacred events was the 
result of a long preparation. Ever since the return of the Ark 
from the captivity in Philistia, the idea of a permanent build- 
ing for its reception had been growing familiar. The mere 

172 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxYii. 

fact of its separation from its ancient habitation in the Sacred 
Tent had necessitated its accommodation within the walls of a 
4 house.'' The 'house' of Abinadab first, and of Obed-edom 
afterwards, became, as it were, little temples for its reception. 
When Jebus was conquered by David, his first thought was to 
find out ' a place for the Lord ; a habitation for the Mighty 
' One of Jacob.' 1 The new capital was the fitting abode of 
the new sanctuary. The Ark was accordingly brought to 
Mount Zion. But here the design was suspended. David 
belonged to the earlier warlike and nomadic epoch. The 
fulfilment of his design was reserved for his peaceful son. 

Still, two definite steps were taken towards it. First, in 
consequence of the vision which connected the hill with the 
name of 'Moriah,' the threshing-floor of Araunah was selected, 
rather than the sanctuary on Zion or Olivet, for the sacred 
site ; and the whole hill was subsequently added. Secondly, 
the materials were begun to be laid in, and communications 
were opened with Hiram. The Chronicler even ascribes to 
David the whole plan of the building 2 down to the minutest 

It was the first work that Solomon undertook. The stones 
were brought partly from Lebanon, partly from the neighbour- 
hood of Bethlehem, 3 partly from the quarries which 
mg. ^ ave k een recen tiy discovered under the Temple 
rock, and known by the name of the ' Royal caverns.' 4 
Hiram's assistance was doubly valuable, both from the archi- 
tectural skill of his countrymen, 5 already employed in his own 
great buildings, and from his supply of the cedar of Lebanon, 
conveyed on rafts to Joppa. An immense array, chiefly of 
Canaanites, was raised to work in the forests, and in the 
quarries of Lebanon. 6 In order to reconcile the spirit of the 

1 Ps. cxxxii. 5. s Mishna, Middoth, iii. 4. 

a 1 Chr. xxviii. 11, 12, 19. Of this there * Josephus, Ant. 

is no indication in the Books of Kings. 5 Amongst whom the Giblites were 

On the contrary, the design and prepara- famous, 1 Kings v. 18 (Heb.) ; Ezek. 

tion are ascribed exclusively to Solomon, xxvii. 9. 

on the very occasions where they are by " 1 Kings v. 13-17- The Chronicler 

the Chronicles ascribed to David. Comp. adds, from Lebanon, ' algum ' (2 Chr. ii. 

1 Kings v. 6 ; 2 Chr. i. 3, 7 ; 1 Kings vi. 2 ; 8), which onlv grows in Malabar. (See 

2 Chr. iii. 3. Lecture XXVI.) 

lbct. xxvn. ITS BUILDING. 173 

new architecture as nearly as was possible with the letter of the 
old law, 1 the stones were hewn in the quarries, and placed 
with reverent silence one upon another without sound of axe 
or hammer, as if, by the gradual growth of nature, 

Like some tall palm, the noiseless fabric sprang. 

As the building was itself an innovation on the strict 
Mosaic ritual, so much more was the ornamental treatment of 
brass and wood. Accordingly Hiram, the first sculptor and 
engraver of Israel, was half a foreigner. 2 His father was a 
Tyrian, and was dead ; but his mother was a Danite who lived 
in Naphtali. He thus sprang, on the Israelite side, from the 
same tribe, and (according to Jewish 3 tradition) from the same 
family, as Aholiab, the Danite artist in the wilderness. So 
wide was his fame, and so profound the reverence entertained 
for him by the two sovereigns to whom he belonged, that he is 
called 'the father' both of Solomon and of Hiram. 4 Under 
his directions, the vessels of brass were cast in the clay-pits of 
the 5 Jordan valley ; and they were so numerous, that Solomon, 
with a true Oriental and imperial magnificence, left them un- 
weighed — 'their weight was never found out.' 6 

The uneven rock of Moriah had to be levelled, and the 
inequalities filled by immense substructions of ' great stones,' 
* costly stones,' ' hewed stones.' It is of these, if of any part of 
the Temple, that the remains are still to be seen. 7 

The general arrangements were taken from those of the 
Tabernacle. 8 The dimensions, the divisions, are the same 
either actually or in 9 proportion • and, thus far, are indicative 
of the firm hold which the institutions of the desert still kept 
on the mind even of the most civilised period of the nation. 

1 Deut. xxvii. 5, 6 ; i Kings vi. 7 (1 Kings vii. 15-45 ; 2 Chr. iv. 1-10.) 

(Ewald). 6 As Louis XIV. is said to have burnt 

a 1 Kings vii. 13, 14. Josephus, Ant. the accounts of the Palace of Versailles 

viii. 3, § 4. without looking into them. 

* Jerome (Qu. Heb. on 2 Chr. ii. 13). 7 1 Kings v. 17 ; Josephus, Ant. viii. 

4 2 Chr. ii. 13, iv. 16. 3, § 2 ; B. J. v. 5, § 1. 

s 1 Kings vii. 45, 46. Hiram made all 8 This was recognised down to a very 

the brass ornaments, i.e. the two pillars, late period. See Wisdom ix. 8. 

the lavers- great and small — the pots, 'Mr. Fergusson has shown (article 

shovels, and flesh-hooks. The brazen Temple in the Diet. 0/ the Bible) that 

altar and the brazen gates of the two the dimensions of the Temple were exactly 

courts are ascribed to Solomon himself. double thos« of the Tabernacle. 

174 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvn. 

Little conception as we can form of its architectural effect, 
we cannot doubt that whatever light is to be thrown upon it 
must be derived from four styles, i. Of the influence 
of Phoenician art, the Tyrian workmen are a suffi- 
cient guarantee. However much they may have conformed 
themselves to the general requirements of the Jewish worship, 
yet the outward details of the architecture must have been 
influenced by their national peculiarities. Analogous cases 
may be noticed in the building of the Alcazar at Seville, by 
the more civilised workmen of Granada, or of some of our 
English cathedrals by the more civilised workmen of France. 
Scanty as is our knowledge of Phoenician architecture, there is 
one point of likeness to Solomon's Temple which can hardly 
be accidental. Whenever, in coins or histories, we get a 
representation l of a Phoenician sanctuary, it always has a 
pillar or pillars standing before or within it. Such, as we shall 
see, were Jachin and Boaz. 2. In common with the Assyrian 
architecture 2 was the mixed use of wood and metal, which 
alone were used in the Temple for sculpture. 3. Solomon's 
intercourse with Egypt renders probable the connexion which 
the actual resemblance almost proves. The courts, the 
cloisters, the enormous porch, the pyramidal form of the 
towers, 3 the painted sculptures on the wall, the successive 
chambers, the darkness of the adytum, are all found in Thebes 
or Ipsambul. 4. One other style remains which illustrates the 
Jewish temple, by likeness, not of architecture, but of design. 
If the mystery and massiveness of the building can be found 
nowhere but in the old Pagan sanctuaries, the pleasant precincts, 
the means of ablution, and the almost universal absence of 
imagery, can be found nowhere but in the sanctuaries of the 
only other existing Semitic religion — the mosques of Islam. 

The result of these combinations was a building unlike any 
The colon- modern edifice, unlike in many respects even to the 
nade - Temple of Herod, which succeeded, and which must 

be carefully distinguished from it. 

1 Thus the Temple at Gath (Judg. xvi. Salomonische Tempel, p. 250. 
29), at Gades (Philostrat. Vit. A poll. v. 5 ; 2 Fergusson's Handbook of Architee- 

Silius Ital. Bell. Pun. III. 14, 22, 32), and ture. 
at Tyre (Herod, ii. 44). See Bahr's 3 Ezek. xlii. 4, 5, 6. 

lbct. xxvn. ITS ARRANGEMENTS. 175 

On the eastern side was a colonnade or cloister, which 
formed the only outward barrier. The later kings continued 
it all round ; but this alone was ascribed to Solomon, 1 and his 
name therefore lingered on the spot long afterwards, and even 
in the time of the second Temple, gave to it or the cloister 
built upon its ruins the title of Solomon's Portico. 2 

This portico opened on a large quadrangle, surrounded by 
a wall, partly of stone, partly of cedar. Here was retained a 
relic of the ancient Canaanite and patriarchal feeling clinging to 
the sacredness of a primeval grove. Like the present Haram- 
es-Sherif, it was planted with trees, amongst which the spread- 
ing cedar, the stately palm, and the venerable olive, were 
conspicuous. 3 This shady precinct — the resort of the 4 neigh- 
bouring birds — may also have suggested the fiercer image of 
the covert or lair of the Lion of Judah. 'In Salem is his 
1 leafy covert, and his rocky den in Zion.' 5 Under those trees, 
too, in the darker days of Jerusalem, the licentious rites of the 
Phoenician divinities doubtless found a natural resting-place. 

Within this was a smaller court, on the highest ridge of 
the hill. Here was the sacred rock bought by David from 
Araunah, the ancient Jebusite king, on the day of the ces- 
sation of the pestilence. It was, as it were, the reverse of 
Naboth's vineyard. The memory that David had acquired it 
by just purchase, not by unjust acquisition, long remained in 
Oriental traditions : 6 and the rocky threshing-floor of the 
heathen Prince thus emerging in the very centre of the 
sanctuary was a monument of the homage paid to Justice and 
Toleration in the heart of the worship of Jehovah. 

On this platform rose the altar ; probably the very one 

erected by David, as there is no special record of its elevation 

by Solomon. There was something about it, whether 

from this circumstance or its general rudeness, which 

seems to have made it out of proportion to the general 

grandeur of the 7 Temple. Apparently, without regard to the 

1 Josephus, B. J. v. 5, § 1. • For the fine Mussulman legend re- 

3 John x. 23 ; Acts iii. 11, v. 12. presenting the same idea, see Jelaladdin, 

" Ps. Hi. 8, xcii. 12, 13. Temple of Jerusalem, 27. 

* Psalm lxxxiv. 3. ' It is mentioned in 2 Chr. iv. 1, vi. 12 ; 

' Psalm lxxvi. 2. and in 1 Kings viii. 22, ix. 25, but not at 

176 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvii. 

Mosaic law, it was mounted by steps. l It was a square chest 
of wood, plated outside with brass, filled inside with stones 
and earth, 2 with the fire on a brass grating at the top : the 
whole placed on a mass of rough stone. The rudeness of the 
structure bore witness to the antiquity of the rites celebrated 
upon it. It represented at once a table and a hearth, ' the 
1 Table of the Lord,' 3 on which the dead animal was roasted 
and burnt, after having been fastened to one of the four square 
projections, which under the name of ' horns * protruded 
from 4 each corner— a vast hearth on which to light the sacred 
fire, which went up, spire- like, to the sky, 5 'the 6 Hearth of 

It was much larger than the ancient altar of the Tabernacle, 
but was itself to be displaced 7 hereafter by a still larger one — 
as though it grew with the growth of the worship. South of 
the altar was the brazen laver supported on twelve brazen bulls, 
and apparently pouring forth its water into a basin below, which 
must have been as large as those beneath the fountains in Paris 
and in Rome. This was used for the ablutions of the priests, 
as they walked to and fro barefooted over the rocky platform. 
On each side were the ten lesser movable vessels of brass, on 
wheels, for the washing of the entrails. 8 They are described in 
minute detail, as if considered wonderful works of art. These 
and the laver were trophies of the victories of David, being made 
from the brass which he brought back from the conquest of 
Syria. 9 They were remarkable as the works of Hiram, who, 
as a Tyrian sculptor, did not scruple, in contravention of 
Israelite usage, to introduce bulls in the greater laver, and 

all in i Kings vi., vii. If it was the old Isaiah xxix. i. 

one, this would account for its being too 7 2 Chron. iv. 1, compared with Exod. 
small in proportion (1 Kings viii. 64 ; 2 xxvii. 1. In the later Temple it was super- 
Kings xvi. 14, 15). seded by one more than twice as large. 

1 Ezek. xliii. 17 ; Mishna, Middoth. The smaller size, Ezek. xliii. 13-17, may 
Comp. Exod. xx. 26. be explained by supposing it to relate to 

2 Middoth, iii. 4. A grate represents the brazen part ; the larger, in 2 Chr. iv. 1, 
the altar in the embroidered draperies of to the whole rock or stonework. 

the Samaritan synagogue. 8 The meaning of the name of the 

* Mai. i. 7, 12 ; Ezek. xliv. 16. engine which supported them (Meckonotk) 
4 Ex. xxvii. 2 ; Ps. cxviii. 27. is lost, and is left untranslated both in 

* Ewald, Alterthiimer, 118; Lev. vi. the LXX. and in Josephus {Ant. viii. 3, 
™, 13 § 6). 

"Ariel, Ezek. xliii. 15, i6(Heb.); • 1 Chron. xviii. 8. 

LBcr. xxvii. ITS ARRANGEMENTS. 177 

bulls and lions and cherubs in the lesser, perhaps as the em- 
blems of the two chief tribes. 

Round about the lesser court, in two or three storeys raised 
above each ether, were chambers for the priests * and other 
persons of rank, as in a college or monastery. In the corner were 
the kitchens and boiling 2 apparatus. Each had brazen gates. 3 

Thus far, on the whole, there was only an enlarged repre- 
sentation of the courts of the Tabernacle. But, behind the 
altar, all was new. The space immediately beyond was deemed 
especially sacred, 4 as intervening between the altar, the centre 
of the national worship, and the porch of the Temple, which 
enshrined the presence of the Invisible. Overshadowing this 
space, there rose — instead of the Tabernacle, half tent, half 
hovel — a solid building, the ' Temple,' properly so called, the 
Palace of the Lord. 5 The outside view must, if we can trust 
the numbers, have been, according to modern notions, strangely 
out of proportion. In front towered the porch, to the prodigious 
height of more than two hundred feet. Behind was a lower 
edifice, lessening in height as it approached its extremity. 
Halfway up its walls, and perhaps even over its roof, small 
chambers, entered only from without, clustered like the shops 
seen against the buttresses of some continental cathedrals. A 
sandal-wood door on the south was the approach to them, and 
a winding staircase led thence to the second and third stories, 
into gilded chambers, accessible to the King alone. 6 The suc- 
cessive diminutions in the thickness of the walls of the Temple 
enabled the 7 chambers to increase in size, in proportion to the 
elevation of the storeys. With the exception of the tower, 
which presented a singular alternation of stone and timber, 8 
the exterior of the structure more nearly resembled the Taber- 
nacle, its massive stone walls being cased in cedar, so as to 
give it the appearance of a rough log-house. 9 

1 2 Chron. xxxi. n ; Jer. xxxvi. 10 ; word hical'is used for a palace in i Kings 

Ezek. xl. 45, xlii. i. xxi. i ; 2 Kings xx. 18 ; Ps. xlv. 8, 15. 

* Ezek. xlvi. 20-24. * 1 Kings vi. 8 ; Josephus, Ant. viiL 
3 2 Chr. iv. 9. 3, § 2. 

* Joel ii. 17 ; Ezek. viii. 16 ; Matt. 7 Ibid. 6. 
xxiii. 35. " Ibid. vii. 12. 

* Hical, the Greek va^, as distin- * Josephus, Ant. viii. 3, § 2 ; see 
guishtd from the surrounding itpov. The Reland, Paleftina, 313. 

II. N 

178 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lbct. zxtil 

The porch, the most startling novelty of the building, was, 
as being external to the rest, the part in which foreign archi- 
tects were allowed the freest play. In materials it was 
e porc ' probably suggested by the Assyrian, in elevation by 
the Egyptian architecture, while the Tyrian sculptors displayed 
their art to the full in the two elaborate pillars. They stood 
immediately under the porch, within, but not supporting it, 
and were called either from the workmen, or from their own 
firmness and solidity, Jachin and Boaz. Their golden pedestals, 
their bright brazen shafts, their rich capitals, their light festoons, 
were thought prodigies of art so remarkable, 1 that the Israelites 
were never weary of recounting their glories. The gates of the 
porch usually stood wide open. 2 Hung round it, inside, were 
probably the shields and spears that had been used in David's 
army, 3 perhaps also the sword and the skull of the gigantic 
Philistine, 4 which had originally been laid up in the Tabernacle. 

Within, another pair of folding doors (made of cypress, with 
their door-posts, which fitted immediately behind the square 
The Holy pedestals of the pillars) led into the Holy Place. It 
Place. would have been almost dark, in spite of a few 

5 loopholes above, but for an innovation now first ventured 
upon. In the place of the original single seven-branched 
candlestick, ten 6 now stood on ten golden tables, five on each 
side. The light of these revealed the interior. As without, so 
within, the whole was lined with wood ; the walls with cedar, 
the floors with cypress or deal. 7 The Phcenician workmen 
had rendered it as nearly as they could like one of the huge 
vessels to which their own city of Tyre was compared by the 
Hebrew prophets. 8 But inside, the wood was overlaid with 
gold, and on this were sculptured forms which nearly resemble 
the winged creatures 9 and mysterious trees familiar to us in 

1 1 Kings vii. 15-22 ; 2 Kings xviii. 16, also are said to have been seven-branched 

xxv. 17 ; 2 Chr. iii. 15-17 ; Jer. Hi. 21-23. (Eupolemus, in Eusebius, Prcep. Ev. ix. 

a 2 Chr. xxix. 7 ; Isa. vi. 1, 2. 34). 

3 Ibid, xxiii. 9 ; 2 Kings xi. 10. These * 1 Kings vi. 15, 18. 

were distinct from the shields taken from * Ezek. xxvii. 4-9, 26. 

Hadad-ezer. 9 Ibid. xli. 18-20. All knowledge of 

* 1 Sam. xvii. 54, xxi. 9. the cherubs was lost in the time of Jose* 

* 1 Kings vi. 4. phus {Ant. viii. 3, § 3). 
r Ibid. vii. 49 ; 2 Chr. iv. 20. These 

xect. xxvn. ITS ARRANGEMENTS. 179 

Assyrian sculpture. The Cherub with the alternate face of a 
man and of a lion, and the Palm, then, as afterwards in the 
Maccabaean l age, the emblem of Palestine, were worked 
alternately along the walls. At the end of the chamber were 
the two symbols of the idea of nourishment, the same which 
in a more tangible and material form was represented by the 
sacrifices : — as, on the rough altar outside, the great sacrificial 
feasts were of animal flesh, so within, the daily offering was of 
the consecrated loaves on their gilded table, the daily cloud of 
incense from its gilded altar. 

A 'wall of partition,' such as the lighter structure of the 
tent had not allowed, closed the access to the innermost 
sanctuary. But this too was penetrated by folding-doors of 
olive-wood ; over which hung a parti-coloured curtain, em- 
broidered with cherubs and flowers. 2 

He who in the progress of the building ventured to look 
through the partition would have seen a small square chamber 
The Holy like an Egyptian adytum, 3 absolutely dark except by 
of Hohes. t j ie ijgh t received through this aperture. But in the 
darkness, 4 two huge golden forms would have been discerned, 
in imitation, on a grand scale, of the cherubs which had covered 
the ancient Ark. Unlike those movable figures, these stood 
firm on their feet ; one on the north, one on the south side, 
waiting to receive the Ark, which was destined to occupy the 
vacant space between them. Their vast wings extended over 
it and joined in a car or throne called the ' chariot 5 of the 
1 cherubs,' to represent the throne of Him who was represented 
as flying and sitting upon the wings of the wind, and the ex- 
tension of His protecting shelter over His people — ' Thou shalt 
1 be safe under his feathers.' A protuberance of rough rock or 
stone waited to receive the Ark itself. 6 To mark the sanctity 
of this extremity of the Temple, the chambers which ran round 
the rest of the building were not allowed to lean against the 

1 See the Maccabaean coins. repairs were let into it blindfold (Afiddotk). 

" i Kings vi. 31 ; 2 Chron. iii. 14 ; 8 1 Chr. xxviii. 18 ; compare Ps. xviii. 

Josephus, Ant. viii. 3, § 3. 10, xcix. 1 ; Isa. vi. 1-3, xxxvii. 16 ; Ezek. 

■ Debir, i.e. not ' oracle,' but ' inner- i. 26 ; Ecclus. xlix. 8. 
'most part.' • Mishna, Joma, v. 2. 

* In the later Temple, workmen for 

N 2 

l8o THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvn. 

outer wall of the sanctuary, but, as in the case of an Egyptian 
adytum, a passage was left free all round it outside. 

In turning from the building to the history of its erection, 
every stage of its progress is recorded. The magnitude of the 
The Dedi- event is marked by the fact that now, for the first time 
cation. since the Exodus, we have the years and months re- 
corded. The foundation-stone was laid in the month Zif (May) 
of the fourth year of Solomon's reign. It was completed in 
the month Bui (November) of the eleventh year. And the 
solemn dedication took place in the month Ethanim (October) 
of the succeeding year. This interval of nearly a year took 
place no doubt in order to accommodate it to the great national 
Festival of the Tabernacles. The whole population came up 
from the remotest extremities of the empire. 1 The two solem- 
nities were joined : the extraordinary taking the place of the 
ordinary festival, 2 and the ordinary festival being thus post- 
poned to the following week, so as to make altogether a pro- 
longed holiday of a fortnight. 3 

It was on the fourteenth day of the seventh month that the 
festival opened. Two processions advanced from different 
quarters. The one came from the lofty height of Gibeon bear- 
ing with it the relics of the old pastoral worship, now to be 
disused for ever. The Sacred Tent, tattered no doubt, and 
often repaired, with its goat's-hair covering and boards of aca- 
cia-wood, was carried aloft. Together with it were brought the 
ancient brazen altar, the candlestick, and the table of shew- 
bread, and also the brazen serpent. A heathen tradition de- 
scribed that the King himself had inaugurated the removal 4 
with solemn sacrifices. 

This train, bearing the venerable remains of the obsolete 
system, was joined on Mount Zion by another still more stately 
The pro- procession, carrying the one relic which was to unite 
cession. ^ anc i en t and the new together. From its tem- 
porary halting-place under the tent erected by David on Mount 

1 i Kings viii. 65. 9, 10. 

* As afterwards in the dedication of the 4 Eupolemus (in Eusebius, Prcep. Ev. 

Temple of Bethel by Jeroboam, 1 Kings ix. 34). He says SrjAoi/x, Shiloh, but this 

xii. 32. See Lecture XXIX. is a natural confusion for Gibeon. 

3 1 Kings viii. 1, 65 ; 2 Chr. vii. 8, 

tact. xxvn. THE DEDICATION. I8l 

Zion, came forth the Ark, of acacia-wood, covered with its two 
small winged figures, supported as of old by the Levites on 
their shoulders. Now, as before when it had removed from 
the house of Obed-edom, the King and people celebrated its 
propitious start by sacrifices— but on a far greater scale -'sheep 
'and oxen that could not be numbered for multitude.' 1 The 
road (such was the traditional picture preserved by Josephus 2 ) 
was flooded with the streams of blood. The air was darkened 
and scented with the clouds of incense ; the songs and dances 
were unintermitted. 

Onwards the procession moved ' up ' the slope of the hill. 
It entered, doubtless, through the eastern gateway. It ascended 
court after court. It reached the Holy Place. And now be- 
fore the Ark disappeared for the last time from the eyes of the 
people, the awful reverence which had kept any inquisitive eyes 
from prying into the secrets of that sacred Chest gave way be- 
fore the united feelings of necessity and of irresistible curiosity. 
The ancient lid formed by the cherubs was to be removed ; 
and a new one without them to be substituted, to fit it for its 
new abode. It was taken off, and, in so doing, the interior 
of the Ark was seen by Israelite eyes for the first time for 
more than four centuries, perhaps for the last time for ever. 
There were various relics of incalculable interest which are 
recorded to have been laid up within or beside it 3 — the pot of 
manna, the staff or sceptre of the tribe of Aaron, and the 
golden censer of Aaron. These all were gone; lost, it may be, 
in the Philistine captivity. But it still contained a monument 
more sacred than any of these. In the darkness of the interior 
lay the two granite blocks from Mount Sinai, covered with the 
ancient characters in which were graven the Ten Command- 
ments. 'There was nothing in the Ark save these.' On these 
the lid was again shut down, and with this burden, the pledge 
of the Law which was the highest manifestation of the Divine 
Presence, the Ark moved within the veil, and was seen no 
more. 4 In that dark receptacle, two gigantic guardians were, 

1 i Kings viii. 5. ' fore the Lord,' and ' before the testimony ' 

2 Ant. viii. 4, § 1. (Exod. xvi. 33 ; Num. xvii. 10). 
* Heb. ix. 4. It may, however, be that * See Lecture VII. 

this is an erroneous inference from ' be- 

1 82 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvii. 

as we have seen, waiting to receive it. The two golden cherubs 
were spreading forth their wings to take the place of the dimin- 
utive figures which had crouched over it up to this time. On 
a rough unhewn projection of the rock, under this covering, 
the Ark was thrust 1 in, and placed lengthways, on what is called 
* the place of its rest.' 2 Then the retiring Priests, as a sign that 
it was to go out thence no more, drew 3 forth from it the staves 
or handles on which they had borne it to and fro ; and, 
although the staves themselves remained within the veil, the 
ends could just be seen protruding through the door, in token 
that its long wanderings were over. They remained long after- 
wards, even to the later days of the monarchy, 4 and guided the 
steps of the Chief Priest as he entered in the darkness. The 
final settlement of the Ark was the pledge that the Lord God 
of Israel had given rest to His people — in the new capital of 
Jerusalem — and also rest to the Levites that they should no 
more carry the Tabernacle 5 to and fro, but minister in the fixed 
service of the Temple. 

The relics from Gibeon were for the most part stored up in 
the sacred treasuries. The Altar 6 of incense and the Table of 
shewbread alone were retained for use, and planted in the Holy 
Place. The Brazen Serpent was exhibited, if not in the Temple, 
yet somewhere in Jerusalem ; with an altar before it on which 
incense was burnt. 7 

The Priests who had thus deposited their sacred burdens 
came out of the porch, and took up their places in the position 
which afterwards became consecrated to them — ' between the 
'porch and the altar.' 8 Round about them in the open court 
stood the innumerable spectators. Opposite them, on the east 
of the altar, stood the band of musicians, clothed 9 in white. 
They blended the new and gentler notes of David's music with 
the loud trumpet blast of the earlier age. 

1 Mishna, yoma, v. 2. Chr. v. 9 (see Keil ad loc). 

2 Ps. cxxxii. 8, 14. 5 1 Chr. xxiii. 25, 26. 

3 The words 'drew forth,' however, are e Josephus {Ant. viii. 4, § 1) adds 'the 
taken by Ewald and Thenius to mean ' candlestick.' 

' elongated.' The |LXX. calls the staves 7 2 Kings xviii. 4. 

Ta 0171a and t<x -qytaa-^tva in 1 Kings viii. 8 Joel ii. 17. 

7, 8, but in 2 Chr. v. 9, 01 ava<f»ooeU. * 2 Chr. v. 12. Compare xxix. 26, and 

* ' Even to this day,' 1 Kings viii. 8 ; 2 Amos vi. 5, with Dr. Pusey's note. 

lect. xxvii. THE DEDICATION. I S3 

And now came the King himself. He came, we cannot 
doubt, with all the state which in later times is described as 
accompanying the Jewish monarchs on their entrance to the 
Temple. He started from his Palace — from the Porch, which 
by this time, perhaps, was just finished. The guard of five 
hundred went before. At their head was the chief l minister of 
the King ; the chief at once of the royal guard and the royal 
household, distinguished by his splendid mantle and sash. He 
distributed to the guards the five hundred golden targets which 
hung in the porch, and which they bore aloft as they went ; and 
then the doors of the gateway were thrown open by the same 
great functionary, who alone had in his custody the key of the 
house of David, the key of state which he bore upon his 
shoulder. 2 Like the Sultan or the Khalif, in the grand proces- 
sions of Islam, the King followed. Over the valley which 
separated the palace from the Temple, there was a bridge or 
causeway uniting the two. 3 It 'was the way by which the King 
'went up to the House of the Lord,' and the magnificent 
steps at each end, of red sandal-wood, were the wonder 
of the Eastern world. 4 From this he entered ' the portico of 
1 Solomon.' 5 

Besides the guards who preceded him, there were guards 
in three detachments, who were stationed at the gate of the 
palace, at the gate of the Temple court, and at the gate where 
they halted, probably at the entrance of the inner court. 6 Im- 
mediately inside that entrance was fixed on a pillar the royal 
seat, surmounted by a brazen canopy. 7 Here the King usually 
stood. But on the present occasion a variation was made in 
accordance with the grandeur of the solemnity. A large brazen 
scaffold 8 was erected east of the altar ; apparently at the 

1 1 Kings xiv. 27, 28. See Lecture son further north, along the same wall, 

XXVI. below the Bab-el- Katnin. 

■ Isa. xxii. 15, 21, 22. « z Kings x. 5 ; 2 Chr. ix. 4, 11. 

3 Josephus, Ant. xiv. 4, § 2 ; B.J. i. 7, s Compare the entrance of the Khalif, 

5 2, ii. 16, § 3, vi. 6, § 2, 8, § 1. The through the grand approach, open to him 

remains of two arches have been found, only, in the precincts of the mosque of 

which, though probably of later date, may Cordova. 
be the relics of bridges answering to that 6 2 Chr. xxiii. 5. 

mentioned. The first is that found by Dr. 7 2 Kings xi. 14, xxiii. 3 (Heb. k tht 

Robinson at the S. W. corner of the Haram ' pillar '). 
area (Bib. Res. i. 287, &c.) ; the second, • 2 Chr. vi. 13. 

that recently discovered by Captain Wil- 

I84 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. iacr. xxvli 

entrance of the outer court, where the people were assembled 
Here Solomon took his seat 1 

As the priests came out, the whole band of musicians and 
singers burst forth into the joyful strain which forms the burden 
The Dedi- °f tne 136th Psalm: ' For He is good, and His mercy 
cation. < endureth for ever.' At the same instant, it is de- 

scribed that the darkness within the Temple had become insup- 
portable. ' The house was filled with a cloud ; for the glory of 
' the Lord had filled tne House of the Lord.' It was at this 
moment that Solomon himself first took his part in the dedica- 
tion. Up to this point, he had been seated on the brazen 
scaffold, his eyes fixed on the Temple. But now that he heard 
the announcement that the sign of Divine favour had been 
perceived, he rose from his place, and broke into a song, or 
psalm, of which two versions are preserved. 2 The abruptness, 
which guarantees its antiquity, leaves it in much obscurity. 
1 He knew the sun in heaven. The Lord spake from (or of) 

* His dwelling in darkness.' ' Build My house ; a glorious 

* house for thyself, to dwell in newness ; ' to which the Hebrew 
text adds, 'I have surely built Thee a house to dwell in, a 

* settled place to abide in for ever.' The two fragments toge- 
ther well express the predominant feelings of the moment — the 
mysteriousness of the Divine Presence, the novelty of the 
epoch, and the change from a wandering and primitive to a 
fixed and regular worship. Then he turned and performed the 
highest sacerdotal act, of solemn benediction. The multitude, 
prostrate, as it would seem, before, rose to receive it. Once 
again he turned westward, towards the Temple. He stretched 
forth his hands in the gesture of Oriental prayer, as if to receive 
the blessings for which he sought, and at the same time ex- 
changed the usual standing posture of prayer for the extra- 
ordinary one of kneeling, now first mentioned in the Sacred 
History, and only used in Eastern worship at the present day 
in moments of deep humiliation. The prayer itself is one of 
unprecedented length ; and is remarkable as combining iiJC 

1 Josephus, Ant. viii. 4, § 2. the statement that it was written in 'the 

• 1 Kings viii. 13. One in the Hebrew ' Book of the Song. 
•ext, the other in the LXX. (ver. 53), with 

tic*, xxvn. THE CONSECRATION. 1 85 

conception of the Infinity of the Divine Presence with the 
hope that the Divine Mercies will be drawn down on the 
nation by the concentration of the national devotions, and 
even of the devotion of foreign nations, towards this fixed 
locality. 1 

Then again the Sovereign rose, turned eastward to the 
people, and bestowed a second benediction. 

And now began the actual consecration of the whole sanc- 
tuary by the act of sacrifice. This being in the open court, 
The Conse- was tne on ty one m which the whole assembly could 
cration. ta k e p art> j t j s described in the later accounts that 
fire descended from Heaven 2 and consumed the whole, and 
that the people at the sight prostrated themselves, and repeated 
once more the burden of the Psalm, ' For He is good, and His 
' mercy endureth for ever.' The sacred altar being too small 
for the reception of the victims, the King consecrated a space 
in the middle of the court (whether outer or inner, does not 
appear 3 ), and on this ox after ox, it is said, to the number of 
22,000, and sheep after sheep, to the number of 120,000, were 
consumed. 4 

The Feast of 'the Dedication of the Altar,' as it was techni- 
cally called, 5 lasted for a week, over which time, probably, the 
enormous mass of sacrificial victims was extended. This again 
was succeeded by the Festival of the Tabernacles, now cele- 
brated with more than the usual rejoicings. The mere feasting 
occasioned by the vast number of victims would be sufficient to 
mark the grandeur of the occasion. At the close of all, on the 
twenty-third of the seventh month, the King finally dismissed 
the people, and received their blessing in return ; and they 
went away 'to their tents' (the pastoral term still lingered), 
glad and merry of heart, lightening the journey home by songs 
of joy, 6 'for all the goodness that the Lord had done to 

The alleged later phrases, and still 

4, S4- 

more the variations of the prayer in the 3 i Kings viii. 64 ; 2 Chr. vii. 7. 

Hebrew and the LXX., and also in the * The Khalif Moktader sacrificed at 

Kings and Chronicles, render it difficult Mecca 40,000 camels and 50,000 sheep 

for us to suppose that we have the exact (Burton, Pilgrimage, i. 318) 
words of Solomon. Still the general sub- * 2 Chr. vii. 9. 

stance of the devotions must be his. • Josephus, Ant. viii. 4, § 6. 

1 2 Chr. vii. i, 2 ; Josephus, Ant. viii. 

1 86 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvii. 

* David His servant, and to Solomon, and to Israel His 
1 people.' l 

A dream, like that which had opened his reign at the ancient 
and now deserted sanctuary of Gibeon, closed the eventful cere- 
mony. It conveyed the assurance that the Divine Blessing 
would be granted to the work that was finished, combined with 
the warning that this Blessing was conditional on the obedience 
and piety of the nation. 2 

As the day of bringing the Ark to Jerusalem had been the 
greatest day of the life of David, so the dedication of the Temple 
Thesu re was tne cu l mmatm g point of the reign of Solomon. 
macy of the In the whole transaction nothing is more remarkable 
than the pre-eminence of the King himself over every 
one else. No Khalif, no Pontiff, could have- presided more 
supremely over the occasion than did Solomon. Zadok never 
appears. The Priests are mentioned only as bearers of the 
Ark. Even the Prophet Nathan is only mentioned by heathen 
historians. 3 The King alone prays, offers, blesses, consecrates. 
And, as if to keep up the memory of the day, thrice a year, 
throughout his reign, on the three great festivals, he not only 
entered the Temple courts with 4 sacrifices, but solemnly pene- 
trated into the Holy Place itself, where in later years none but 
the Priests were allowed to enter, and offered incense on the 
altar of incense. 5 It was in accordance with the same principle, 
that he adopted once for all the duties of the Priestly order as 
originated by David, which continued to the end of the Jewish 
nation. 6 It is characteristic of the free and religious spirit of 
the Jewish Church, that the organised hierarchical system, 
though dating from this time, took its rise not in any sacerdotal 
arrangement, but from that union of King and Priest in the 
person of Solomon, which had been already foreshadowed in 
David, and which, in a moral and spiritual sense, was to be 
realised in the future Messiah. 

Such was the Temple of Solomon. Its peculiarities, as 

' i Kings viii. 66 ; 2 Chr. vii. 10. s 1 Kings ix. 25. This is omitted in 

a 1 Kings ix. 2-9 ; 2 Chr. vii. 12-22. 2 Chr. viii. 13. 

3 Eupolemus, in Eusebius, Prcep. Ev. e 2 Chr. viii. 14 ; see 1 Chr. xxiii.. 

ix . 34. xxiv. 
* 2 Chr. viii. 13. 

user, xxvii. ITS PECULIARITIES. 1 87 

a place of worship, are best understood by a succession of 

It differed from the former sanctuary of the Tabernacle in 
durability and in splendour. It was a house instead of a tent ; 
Contrast a P a ^ ace instead of a hovel. It also became the centre 
with the of a ceremonial system, which before had existed but 
very imperfectly. The collegiate buildings for the 
priests, 1 their weeklv courses, their guard by night, their clean- 
ing of the altar, the arrangements for the slaughter of the 
victims, all originate more or less from this time. 

On the other hand, it differed from the later Temple of 
Herod, partly by its more primitive character, partly by its 
with HenxTs larger freedom. The wooden covering must have 
Temple. retained for it something of the savage appearance of 
the ancient sanctuary. Its dimensions, too, were for the most 
part the mere double of those of the Tabernacle ; whereas the 
dimensions of the second Temple, at least in courts and altar, 
extended beyond all proportion to the original model. But in 
some important respects there was a wider adoption of foreign 
ideas in Solomon's Temple than of the Tabernacle was ever 
the case before or after. The single candelabrum, which was 
restored by imitation in the second Temple, was, as we have 
seen, superseded by ten candlesticks in the first. The cherubic 
figures in the Holy of Holies, as well as the lions and oxen, 
which appeared for the first time in the outer court of Solomon's 
Temple, are condemned by Josephus 2 as contrary to the Second 
Commandment, and, apparently, had no place in Herod's 
Temple. The adoption of Tyrian and Egyptian architecture 
in the first Temple was only in part retained by the second. 
The likeness of the ancient sacred grove which adorned the 
first was entirely removed in the second. 3 Steps to the altar, 
which in the 4 Tabernacle and in the second Temple were for- 
bidden in accordance with the Levitical law, were allowed by 
Solomon. The barriers which divided the Gentile worshippers 
from the outer court, and the women from the inner court, in 

1 As described in the Mishna, Jotna 3 Hecataeus, in Josephus, c. Afitrt, i. 

aad Tamid. Reland, Loc. Sacr. 180. § 22. 

* Ant. viii. 7, § 5. See Lecture VII. * Exod. xx. 26. 

1 88 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. user, xxvii. 

the second Temple, had no existence in the first. The ancient 
trophies of war, the shields of David, had disappeared from the 
porch, and in their place was hung the colossal cluster of golden 
grapes, which represented the new idea of Israel under the 
figure of the vine. 

Still more forcibly is the peculiarity of the Religion which 
the Temple represented brought out by its contrasts both with 
Pagan shrines and Christian churches. Of the two 
with Pagan main differences from Pagan Temples, the first was 
more fully brought out in the sanctuary of Herod 
than in that of Solomon, but still was conspicuous in both ; 
namely, the absence of any statue or sacred animal to repre- 
sent the indwelling Divinity. With the exception of the cherubs, 
which were merely ornamental and symbolical, the awe-struck 
description of Pompey when he entered the Holy of Holies 
was already true — ' Vacua?n sedem, inania arcana? l The nega- 
tive theology, so to speak, of the Jewish system, there reached 
its highest pitch. There was nothing in the innermost sanctuary 
— and yet that nothing was everything. The second distinction 
was the Unity of the Temple. This too was of supreme im- 
portance in its effects on the nation. Not only did the fixedness 
of the building act as a check on the local superstition which 
had previously attached to the Ark and to the Tabernacle, 
moved about as they were like charms from one scene of 
danger to another, to protect the hosts or the Kings of Israel ; 
but the centralisation of the religious feeling and life of the 
nation on a single spot, acted as a protest against the tendency 
to isolated and multiplied forms of worship, to which, as we see 
from the subsequent history, the Israelites, like all other nations, 
were so prone. And the Temple became in consequence a 
symbol of the unity of religious and national life, such as no 
other ancient sanctuary could exhibit. The vast size of the 
surrounding courts ; the chambers and guards ; the union on 
one spot of Forum, Fortress, University, Sanctuary, was peculiar 
to the Temple of Jerusalem. This was the full meaning of the 
oracle, here probably first delivered, the key-note of much of 

1 Tacitus, Hist. v. 9. See Lecture VII. 

lect. xxvii. ITS PECULIARITIES. 1 89 

the subsequent history : ■ In this house, and in Jerusalem, will 
1 I put My name for ever.' 1 

These were the points of difference between the Temple 

and all Pagan sanctuaries. In most other outward respects, as 

it resembled them, so it differed from all Christian 

With ' 

Christian churches, though more nearly resembling those of 
Eastern than of Western Christendom. In the outer 
courts, the widest difference was caused by the presence of the 
sacrificial system in the Jewish worship and its absence in the 
Christian ritual. Every one knows the peaceful aspect of the 
precincts of a European cathedral. It needs a strong stretch 
of imagination to conceive the arrangements for sacrifice, which 
filled the Temple courts with sheep, and oxen, and goats, with 
blazing furnaces, with pools of blood, with masses of skins and 
offal, with columns of steam and smoke. 2 The clouds of in- 
cense, which in a large part of Christendom are used as the 
innocent symbols of prayers ascending heavenwards, had pro- 
bably in the Jewish Temple the direct object of counteracting 
the effluvia of these multiplied carcases. And again, the con- 
trast of the darkness and smallness of the edifice of the actual 
Temple with the light and the size of Christian churches, arose, 
as a matter of course, from the circumstance that the worship 
of the Jew was carried on round the altar in the outer court ; 
whereas the worship of the Christian is carried on round the 
Holy Table within the inner chancel. The Jewish Temple 
would have been contained five times over within one of our 
great cathedrals. Christian congregations of men, women, and 
children penetrate, even in Eastern churches, into the interior 
of the building, where in the Jewish sanctuary none but the 
Kings and Priests could enter ; in all Western churches, into 
the recesses where even the King and the High Priest could 
hardly enter. 

But there are points of connexion as well as points of con- 
trast between the Jewish Temple and a Christian church. 

The Temple itself became no doubt the object of a local 
veneration, at times amounting almost to idolatry. The Jews 

1 2 Kings xxi. 4, 7 : compare 1 Kings viii. 29, ix. 3, xi. 36, 
■ See Lecture XXXV. 

190 THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvii. 

regarded it as a talisman that was to guard them in spite of all 
their sins. 1 The Jews in the siege of Titus clung to it as a 
refuge in the last agony of their nation. The Jews at the 
present day recall its glories, and murmur their wailings at the 
crevices of its walls, ' with a tenacity unmatched by that of any 
* other people to any other building in the ancient world.' 2 
But, nevertheless, even in this excess of local devotion, there 
was a spiritual and moral element. 

The very combination of a spiritual religion with material 
splendour and foreign art in such a building, carried with it the 
Spiritual germs of all Christian architecture and the principle 
theTempie °f national worship in fixed places, for ever. In some 
worship. forms of the Christian Church even its outward de- 
tails have been perpetuated. The name at least of the ' altar ' has 
been retained in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches, 
and, although to a very limited and doubtful extent, in our own. 
The name and partly the idea of ' the Holy of Holies ' has 
been copied in the Eastern Church. The architects of the 
middle ages, and, it is said, the Freemasons of our own time, 
made a boast of tracing back their legendary lore and strange 
usages to those of Solomon's Temple. The chief ecclesiastical 
builder of ancient Christendom, the Emperor Justinian, when 
he had finished the first metropolitan cathedral of the world, 
recurred in thought to his first imperial prototype, and ex- 
claimed ' I have vanquished thee, O Solomon ! ' Over the 
elaborate portal of Strasburg, it is Solomon who sits enthroned, 
and the most splendid of the entrances to Westminster Abbey 
was long known by the name of ' Solomon's Porch.' 

The concentration of public life round the Temple raised 
the whole idea of worship from the edifice to the people who 
encompassed, and, as it were, absorbed it. Unless the Jewish 
worship had been confined to one particular spot, and that the 
capital of the nation, there would have been no scope for the 
magnificent metaphor which in later times transferred the 
image of ' the Temple,' the one undivided temple, to the one 
undivided yet illimitable community of the Christian Church. 
'The living stones,' 'the spiritual house,' 'the whole building 

1 Jet. vii, 4 s Mr. Fergusson, article Temple in Diet, of the Bible. 

lect. xxvii. ITS PECULIARITIES. 191 

fitly framed together, growing into a holy ■ Temple,' on its 
1 chief corner stone,' ! the pillars in the Temple of God,' l — 
these images, so full of meaning, could never, humanly speak- 
ing, have occurred to the Christian Apostles, had the waving 
curtains of the nomadic Tent not been replaced by the solid 
structure of the Temple. The architectural figure of ' edifi- 
' cation,' so constantly applied by them to the piling up, stone 
after stone, of the human character, was in the first instance 
suggested almost literally by the separate parts silently fitted 
together, and rising majestically, stage above stage, in the one 
sacred edifice dear to all their converts from the Jewish world, 
familiar to most of those from the Gentiles. Those lofty 
buildings and those deep substructions still 'remain for all 
1 time ' 2 in a yet higher sense, through this application of them, 
than Solomon or his successors could possibly have antici- 

There is another point in which the Temple served to 
perpetuate a lesson of lasting importance. Its Founder had 
the perception, rare in those who undertake works of this 
magnitude, to see it in its due proportions to the higher truth 
which it represented. The first public recognition of Prayer 
as distinct from sacrifice — of the spiritual as distinct from the 
ceremonial mode of approaching God — is the Prayer of Solo- 
mon at the Dedication of the Temple : And further, in this 
moment of the extremest triumph of ritual and material 
worship, was uttered one of the most spiritual truths that the 
Old Testament contains : ' Behold the Heaven and the 
1 Heaven of Heavens cannot contain Thee j how much less 
1 this house that I have builded ? ' 3 The combination of the 
two ideas in this remarkable instance has to some extent held 
them together since. The very magnificence of the occasion 
which then set them forth is a guarantee that they need never 
be divided. And therefore, when the first voice arose in the 
Christian Church to proclaim the annihilation of the local 
sanctity even of the Temple itself, this absolute assertion of 
spiritual freedom was based on the recognition of Solomon's 

1 1 Pet. ii. 5 ; Eph. ii. 20, 21, iv. 16 ; a Josephus, Ant. xv. 11, 3. 

Rev. iii. 12. ' 1 Kings viii. 27 ; 2 Chr. vi. 18. 



LECT. xxva 

place in the long succession of the founders of the Holy Places 
of Israel. ' Solomon built him an house,' says S. Stephen. 
* Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with 
' hands. . . . Heaven is My throne, and earth My foot-stool ; 
' what house will ye build Me ? saith the Lord : or what is the 
1 place of My rest ? Hath not My hand made all these 
1 things ? ' l 

' Pull down the nests, and the rooks will fly away,' is the 
well-known maxim 2 which is said to have shattered to the 
ground the cathedral of S. Andrew's, as well as many a lesser 
church and abbey, both in Scotland and in England. But 
Solomon saw that even the splendour of the Temple might be 
a safeguard, not a destruction, of the highest ideas of spiritual 
worship. There is a superstition in denouncing religious art, 
as well as in clinging to it. There is no inherent connexion 
between ugliness and godliness. There was a danger of 
superstition in the rough planks and black hair-cloth of the 
Tabernacle, closer at hand than in the gilded walls and marble 
towers of the Temple. There is a wisdom in the policy of 
John Knox ; but there is a still higher wisdom in the Prayer 
of Solomon. 

1 Acts. vii. 47-50. 

3 The origin of this saying has been 
much disputed. In the Disputatio Apolo- 
getica de jure Regis Hiberniee pro 
Catholicis Hibemis adversus hcereticos 
A nglos (Frankfort, 1645), it is represented 
as the application, by Henry VIII., of an 
older proverb, to the dissolution of the 
English monasteries. ' Illud barbarum 
' usurpans dictum, corvorum nidos esse 
*penilus disturbandos ne postea iterum ad 

1 cohabitandum'convolarent. ' It is ascribed 
to Knox by Drummond of Hawthornden. 
I owe these references to the kindness of 
Mr. Robertson, of the Register House 
Edinburgh. I have since found a still 
earlier instance. It was the advice given 
to the King of Meath in regard to the 
Norwegian fortresses of the Norsemen in 
Ireland.— Giraldus Cambrensis, Hist. iii. 

lbct xxvm. THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. 193 



The reign of Solomon has sometimes been called the Augustan 
age of the Jewish nation. But there was this peculiarity, that 
Solomon was not only its Augustus, but its Aristotle. Fabulous 
as is the Rabbinical tradition, it has curiously caught hold of a 
truth in describing how, when Alexander took Jerusalem, he 
captured the works of Solomon, and sent them to Aristotle, 
who thence derived all that was good in his philosophy. 1 

Jewish literature had already begun to unfold itself in a 
systematic form at the first beginning of the monarchy. Music 
and poetry were especially developed and concentrated in the 
Prophetic schools of Samuel ; and to the earlier warlike bursts 
of the poetic spirit of the nation, had been now added David, 
the first founder of the Sacred poetry of Judaea and of the 
world. The Book of Judges, at least, had been composed in 
its present form, and the first distinct notices of historical 
narrative appear in the record of the lost works of Samuel, 
Gad, and Nathan. 

But, with the accession of Solomon, a new world of thought 
was opened to the Israelites. The curtain which divided 
them from the surrounding nations, was, 2 as we have seen, 
suddenly rent asunder. The wonders of Egypt, the commerce 
of Tyre, the romance of Arabia, nay, it is even possible, the 
Homeric age of Greece, became visible. Of this, the first 
and most obvious result was the growth of architecture. But 
the general effects on the whole mind of the people must have, 
been deeper still. A new direction seems to have been given 

1 Fabricius, Cod. Pseud, ii. 1019. * See Lecture XXVI. 

II. o 

194 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lect. xxviii. 

to Israelite thought. Prophets and Psalmists retire into the 
background, and their place is taken by the new power called 
by the name of ' Wisdom.' Its two conspicuous examples are 
the ' wisdom of Egypt and the wisdom of the children of the 
1 East,' that is, of the * Idumsean Arabs. Four renowned sages 
appear as its exponents. Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, 
and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. 2 It would almost 
seem as if a kind of college had been founded for this special 
purpose -a 'house of wisdom on seven pillars.' 3 A class of 
men sprang up, distinct both from Priest and Prophet, under 
the name of 'the 4 Wise.' Their teaching, their manner of 
life, was unlike that of either of those two powerful orders. 
The thing and the name had been almost unknown before. 
In a restricted sense, the word had been used of the Danite 
architects of the Tabernacle, 5 and in a somewhat larger sense 
of two 6 or three remarkable persons in David's reign. But 
from this time forward, the word occurs in the Sacred writings 
at least three hundred times. What it was will best be per- 
ceived by seeing it in its greatest representative. A change 
must have come over the nation any way through the new 
world which he opened. But it was fixed and magnified by 
finding such a mind to receive it. His wisdom excelled the 
' wisdom ' of any one of his time. From his early years its 
germs had been recognised. It may be that there was some- 
thing hereditary in the gift. ' Prudence ' 7 was one of the con- 
spicuous qualities of his father, and of his two cousins, the 
sons of Shimeah. The almost supernatural sagacity of Ahitho- 
phel may have clung to his mother's family, and (if we may 
apply to Solomon the advice given to King 8 Lemuel by his 
mother) Bathsheba herself must have been worthy of her 
husband and her son. ' Do according to thy wisdom .... 
1 Thou art a wise man and knowest what thou oughtest to do 

1 i Kings iv. 30 ; comp. Jer. xlix. 7 ; 5 Exod. xxxi. 3, 6. 

Obad. 8. See Renan, Livre de Job. 6 2 Sam. xiv. 2, xx. 16. 

a 1 Kings iv. 31. ' The word translated ' wisely ' in 

3 Proverbs ix. 1. 1 Sam. xviii. 5, 14, 15, 30, is not that which 

* Hac&mim ; Prov. i. 6, xiii. 20, xv. is so rendered in the case of Solomon. 

12, xxii. 17 ; Isa. xxix. 14 ; Jer. xviii. 18 8 Prov. xxxi. r. Lemuel is identified 

(comp. Ezek. vii. 26). See Bruch, Wets- with Solomon by the Jewish interpreters. 

keitslehre der flfbra(r, pp. 48, 49. 

lbct. xxvnr. HIS JUSTICE. 195 

* unto him' 1 — are amongst his father's charges to him in his 
youth. 'The Lord hath given unto David a wise son,' is 
Hiram's congratulation. 2 If we may take as literal the de- 
scription in the Book of Proverbs, David had foreseen the 
importance of this gift for his son, and repeatedly urged it 
upon him ; ' Get wisdom, get understanding ; wisdom is the 
1 principal thing j get wisdom ; with all thy getting, get under- 

* standing. She shall be to thy head an ornament of praise ; a 

* crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.' 3 

I. The first characteristic of this wisdom was carefully 
defined by Solomon himself in the dream at Gibeon: 'An 
1 understanding heart, to judge the people, to discern 
'•judgment' This was the original meaning of the 
word. It was the calm, judicial discretion, which was intended 
to supersede the passionate, chivalrous, irregular impulses of 
the former age. The maladministration of justice by the sons 
of Samuel had been one ground for the establishment of the 
monarchy. In Solomon's reign, it seemed as if the change 
were to be completely justified. The first example was the 
keen-sighted appeal to the instincts of nature, in the judgment 
between the two mothers. Of a like kind is the Oriental 4 
tradition which describes how he peacefully adjudicated be- 
tween two claimants to the same treasure, by determining that 
the son of the one should marry the daughter of the other. 

* The poor,' 'the poor,' 'the needy,' 'the oppressed,' 'the 

* needy,' 'the poor,' ' the helpless,' 'the poor,' 'the needy,' 'the 

* needy,' ' the sufferers from violence and deceit,' are mentioned 
with pathetic reiteration as under his especial protection — 

* judged,' 'saved,' 'delivered,' ' spared,' ' redeemed ' by him: 

* precious shall their blood be in his sight.' 5 In the Proverbs 
it occurs again and again. ' The King by judgment establisheth 
1 the land.' 6 ' The throne of the King shall be established in 
"■justice' 1 'The King that faithfully judgeth the poor, his 

* throne shall be established for ever.' 8 In later times, this 
image has been either superseded by his more splendid 
qualities, or overcast by the gloom of his later years. But in 

1 1 Kings ii. 6. * i Kings v. 7. * Prov. iv. 5-9. ' Weil's Legends, 164. 

1 Ps. lxxii. 2, 4, 12, 13, 14. * Prov. xxix. 4. 7 Ibid. xxv. ■ Ibid. xxix. 

O 2 

ig6 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvm. 

his own reign, it must have been the basis 01 his greatness. 
' All Israel heard of the judgment which the King had judged, 

* and they feared the King '—young as he was — ' for they sa\r 
1 that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.'' And 
not only in his own age, but long afterwards, did the recol- 
lection of that serene reign keep alive the idea of a just king 
before the eyes of the people, and enable them to understand 
how there should once again appear at the close of their 
history a still greater Son of David. When the Prophet 
describes that this new Prince of the house of Jesse is to be 
endowed, as Solomon, with ' the spirit of wisdom and under- 
' standing, of counsel and might, of knowledge and of the fear 
1 of the Lord,' the special manifestation of his spirit is that ' he 
1 shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove 
' after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he 
' judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the 
' earth : . . . and righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, 

* and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.' l When we reflect 
how slowly Christendom has arrived at perceiving the para- 
mount importance of Justice, how many centuries passed 
before it was applied at all to matters of religion, how reluctant 
we are even now to acknowledge it as the crowning grace of 
Christian civilisation, how unwilling to admit it as the rule of 
Christian controversies ; we shall see how far beyond the age 
was this distinct recognition of it in the Hebrew Scriptures. 
However much it may often seem to have taken flight from 
the arguments and the practices of the Christian Church, we 
may slill shelter ourselves under its precedents, so firmly 
established by Solomon in the Church of the Jews. 

II. Closely allied with this is another characteristic of the 
wisdom of Solomon, his ' largeness of heart, even as the sand 
Hiscompre- ' tnat is on tne sea-shore.' 2 This breadth of view is 
hensiveness. one f t h e aspects which ' wisdom ' assumes in the 
only case where it is expressly named in the reign of David. 
When Joab invoked the aid of the ' wise ' woman of Tekoah, 
to reconcile David to his son, her whole argument is based on 
the grandeur of the large and comprehensive grasp, with which 

1 Isa. xi. 1-5. 2 * &i n g s iv. 29. 



a king should treat the complex difficulties of human character. 
She speaks of the irreparable death which is the universal lot 
of all men, • as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be 
'gathered up again.' She appeals to the universal sympathy of 
God for His lost creatures : ' He doth devise means that His 
1 banished be not expelled from Him.' She appeals to the 
superhuman ' wisdom ' of David, as able to hear and bear with 
good and evil ; and ' to know '— not this or that form of temper 
only — but 'all things that are in the earth.' 1 That dialogue 
contains the germ of Solomon's greatness. His ' wisdom ' 
seems to have supplied to him something of that moral eleva- 
tion of sentiment which otherwise was peculiar to the Prophe- 
tical Office. Founder, as in a certain sense he was, of the 
Holy Places and hierarchical system of Israel, yet his policy 
has never, even by the most suspicious of modern critics, been 
charged with superstition or undue submission to the sacerdotal 
order. The sanctity of the right of asylum, in the cases of Joab 
and Adonijah, 2 he fearlessly disregarded. The succession of 
one branch of the Aaronic family he rudely broke asunder. 
In the Temple, as we have seen, he never allowed its external 
magnificence 3 to outweigh his sense of the spiritual character 
of the Divinity, or of the moral obligations of man. ' To do 
1 justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than 
1 sacrifice.' This maxim of the Proverbs 4 was a bold saying 
then, it is a bold saying still ; but it well unites the wisdom of 
Solomon with that of his father David in the 51st Psalm, and 
with the inspiration of the later Prophets. 

III. Coextensive with the all-embracing character of Solo- 
mon's wisdom was its far-spread renown, and its variety of 
forms. Both alike are spoken of, the one as the counterpart 
of the other. ' Thy soul covered the whole earth, and filled 
1 it with dark parables. . . . The countries marvelled at thee 
' for thy interpretations, and songs, and proverbs, and parables/ 5 

1. Of all these manifestations of wisdom, that which seems 
to have gathered the widest fame in his own time was the ques- 
tioning and answering, ' the interpretations,' of 'hard questions 

1 2 Sam. xiv. 2, 14, 17 (Heb.), 20. a See Lecture XXVI. 

3 See Lecture XXVII. * Prov. xxi. 3. 5 Ecclps. xlvii. 14-17. 


' and riddles. The climax of the definition of wisdom is the 
1 understanding of a proverb, and the interpretation ; the words 
4 of the wise, and their dark 1 sayings.' The chiefs 
around seem to have been stimulated by his example, 
or by their example to have stimulated him, to carry on this kind 
of Socratic dialogue with each other. Examples of them seem 
to be found in the Book of Proverbs, especially in the words of 
Agur. ' What are the six things that the Lord hateth? 2 'What 
' are the two daughters of the horseleech ? ' ' What are the 
' three things that are never satisfied? the three things that are 
1 too wonderful? the three things that disquiet the earth? the 
1 four things that are little and wise? the four things that are 
1 comely in going.' 3 The historians of Tyre recorded that this 
interchange of riddles went on constantly between Solomon 
and Hiram, each being under the engagement to pay a forfeit 
of money for every riddle that he could not solve. Solomon 
got the better of Hiram till Hiram set to work a Tyrian boy, 
the younger son of Abdemon, who both solved the riddles of 
Solomon, and set others which Solomon could not answer. 4 
But the most remarkable instance was one which has left its 
traces both in the Old and New Testament, and in the bound- 
Queen of l ess fancies of later tradition. A chieftainess, a queen 
Sheba. f rom some distant country, was attracted, by the wide- 
spread accounts of his wisdom, to come herself in person to 
put these riddles to him. Her long train of camels lived in 
the recollection of the Israelites, as bringing gifts of gold, pre- 
cious stones, and balsam, to her host. 5 A memorial of her 
visit was believed to remain in the balsam gardens of Jericho. 6 
Like Hiram, she was worsted in the unequal conflict. All her 
questions were answered ; and the magnificence of his court, 
especially of the 7 state entrance to the Temple, was such that 

1 Prov. i. 6. ' apostasy of a believer — the repentance of a 

1 Ibid. vi. 16. ' sinner.') Weil, 166. 

s Ibid. xxx. 15, 16, 18, 21, 24, 29. * Josephus, c. Apion,\. 17, 18; Ant. 

Compare in the Mussulman legends — viii. 5, § 3. 

' What is Everything and what is No- * 1 Kings x. 2 ; 2 Chron. ix. 1. 

' thing?' (Answer, ' God and the world.') " Josephus, Ant. viii. 6, § 6 ; and the 

' Who is something, and who is less than passages cited in Robinson, Bib. Res. i. 

' nothing ? ' Answer, ' The believer and the 559. 

' hypocrite.") ' What is the vilest and what * 1 Kings x. 5. Or ' offerings,' as in 

' the aiv*i Lcaatiful thing?' (Answer, 'The LXX., and Josephus, Ant. viii. 6, § 5. 

lect. xxvm. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA. 199 

' there was no more spirit left in her.' But it was his 'wisdom' 
chiefly which dwelt in her mind. ' Happy are thy wives, happy 

* are these thy servants, who stand continually before thee, and 

* hear thy wisdom.' 1 

So romantic an incident could not but provoke the desire 
to fill up what the Biblical account leaves unsaid. The legends 
divide themselves into two classes. Those of Abyssinia, forti- 
fied by the Arabic translation, ' Queen of the 2 South,'' represented 
her as coming from Meroe. Of this it is some slight confirma- 
tion that Josephus calls her Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia, 3 and 
that Meroe unquestionably was ruled by queens. This story gives 
to her the name of Makeda, and represents her as bearing a 
child to Solomon (Melimelek), from whom the present sove- 
reigns of Abyssinia claim descent, 4 and with the story are con- 
nected the traditions of Solomon and of Jewish usages that so 
strongly mark the Abyssinian Church. It is a curious fact that 
the most degraded and barbarous of Christian Churches should 
thus claim to be the representative of the highest and most 
civilised period of the Church of Israel. 

The Arab tradition rests, perhaps, on a safer foundation. 
1 Sheba ' naturally points to the Arabian Sabaea, as also do the 
gifts brought, and the probability that she might have heard the 
rumours of his wisdom through the fleets of Ophir. Her name 
in this version was Balkis. 5 Many were the trials of wit recorded. 
One of the spirits, at the bidding of Solomon's vizier, transported 
the throne of Balkis to Jerusalem, and Solomon had it altered, 
in order to conceal its identity. She approached, and it was 
asked of her, ' Is this thy throne?' She saw through their 
meaning, and answered, with a union of penetration and 
courtesy which charmed them all, 'It seems to be the same.' 
She, on the other hand, had sent two troops, of boys dressed 
like girls, and of girls dressed like boys, nosegays of artificial 
flowers to be distinguished from real ones by the sight alone, 

But 2 Chron. ix. 4 (where the word is the Pharaohs came to an end with Solo- 
peculiar) and Exek. xl. 26 confirm the mon's father-in-law, and that she was the 
common view. Queen Nitocris (Nicaule) mentioned by 

1 1 Kings x. 8 (LXX.). See Lecture Herodotus {Ant. viii. 6, § 2). 
XXVII. « Ludolf, /Ethiop. ii. 3. 

2 Compare Matt. xii. 42. * D'Herbelot, Balkis. 
J .Inf. viii. 6, § 5. He believes that 

200 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvm. 

and also a diamond to be threaded, and a goblet to be filled 
with water neither from the clouds nor the earth. Solomon 
detected the boys and girls by their different manner of wash- 
ing ; the difference in the nosegays he discovered by letting 
the bees in upon them, and he sent a worm which passed a 
silken thread through the intricate perforations of the diamond, 
and then as its reward received the mulberry tree for its future 
habitation. A huge slave was set to gallop to and fro on a fiery 
horse ; and from the torrents of his perspiration the goblet was 
filled. He then married her, and although she returned to 
Arabia he spent in every year three months in her company. On 
her death, the genii carried her body, by his orders, to Tadmor, 
where her grave is still concealed beneath the ruins of Palmyra. 1 
The combination of remote characters for a joint purpose 
on an unexpected scene has a natural appeal to the human 
imagination. As such, the visit of the Queen of Sheba has won 
for itself a conspicuous place in the New Testament. ' The 
' Queen of the South shall rise up in the judgment with this 
1 generation, and shall condemn it : for she came from the 
5 uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.' 2 
Nor is this selection unworthy of the general interest of the 
story. The spirit of this asking of questions and solving of 
dark riddles is of the very nature of true Philosophy. ' To ask 
1 questions rightly,' said Lord Bacon, ' is the half of knowledge.' 
4 Life without cross-examination is no life at all,' said Socrates. 
And of this stimulating process, of this eager inquiry, of this 
solicitation of new meanings out of old words, Solomon is the 
first example. When we inquire, when we restlessly question, 
in our search after truth, when we seek it from unexpected 
quarters, we are but following in the steps of the wise King of 
Judah, and the wise Queen of Sheba. 

2. But further, Solomon was, at least in one extensive 
branch, the founder, the only representative, not merely of 
Hebrew wisdom, but of Hebrew science. As Alex- 
is science. an( j er > s CO nquest had supplied the materials for the 
first natural history of Greece, so Solomon's commerce did the 

1 Weil's Legends, 194-2 u ; Korah, xxvii. 20-45 , Lane's Selections, 236-241. 

2 Matt. xii. 42. 

lect. xxviii. HIS SCIENCE. 201 

like for the first natural history of Israel. ' He spake of trees,' 
from the highest to the lowest, ' from the spreading cedar tree 
1 of Lebanon, to the slender caperplant that springs out of the 
* crevice of the wall. He spake also of beasts, and of fowls, 
' and of creeping things, and of fishes.' We must look at him 
as the first great naturalist of the world, in the midst of the 
strange animals — the apes, the peacocks — which he had col- 
lected from India ; in the gardens, among the copious springs 
of Etham, or in the bed of the deep ravine beneath the wall of 
his newly erected Temple, where, doubtless, was to be seen the 
transplanted cedar, superseding the humble sycamore of 1 Pales- 
tine ; the ' paradise ' 2 of rare plants, gathered from far and near ; 
' pomegranates, with pleasant fruits ; camphire, with spikenard, 
1 spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees 
' of frankincense ; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.' 3 
The Arabian traditions have founded on this characteristic 
of Solomon their fantastic fables of his intercourse with birds, 
with whom ' he conversed, both on account of their delicious 
1 language, which he knew as well as his own, as also for the 
1 beautiful proverbs, which are current amongst them.' The lap- 
wing was his special favourite. The cock and the hoopoe were 
his constant attendants. Clouds of birds formed the canopy of 
his throne and of his litter. The doves were to live in his 
temple. They multiplied so rapidly from the stroke of his 
hand that he could walk to the Temple from the market 
quarter of the city under cover of their wings. 4 The more 
prosaic mind of Josephus has rather inclined to see in the 
Biblical account of Solomon's natural science his tendency to 
draw parables from every form of vegetable and animal life— a 
supposition probably suggested by the appeals to the ant. 5 But, 
on one point, the sober Tew and the wild Arab are 

His magic. j t> i 0.1 • 

agreed. Both represent Solomon s science to have 
extended beyond the limits of the natural world into the regions 
of magic and demoniacal agency. According to Arabian 
legends, he ruled the genii with an absolute sway by his signet 

1 Kings x. 27 ; 2 Chr. ix. 27. Selections, 235. 

3 Eccl. ii. 5 (Heb.). s Prov. vi. 6-8, xxx. 25. Josephus, 

3 Cant. iv. 13, 14. Ant. viii. 2, 5 5. 

4 Weil's Legends, 172, 173, 186 ; Lane's 

202 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvm. 

ring. At his command they built the Temple and the walls of 
Tadmor and of Baalbec ; on their wings he rode to and fro, 
breakfasting at Persepolis, dining at l Baalbec, supping at Jeru- 
salem. Under his throne he buried their magical books. 2 
According to Josephus, incantations for the cure of disorders, 
exorcisms for casting out demons, said to have been discovered 
by Solomon, were still used 3 in Palestine in his own time. 

It is remarkable that of these occult powers there is not the 
slightest trace in the sacred writings. They say nothing of his 
magic. But of his science they tell enough to show us that, 
in pursuing this great study, we are his true followers ; that the 
geologist, the astronomer, but especially the botanist and the 
naturalist, may claim him as their first professor. They tell us 
this, and they tell us no more, in order to impress upon us also, 
that science is not the object of the Bible — it is concerned with 
other and yet higher matters. Lord Bacon, in a striking pas- 
sage in the ' New Atlantis,' represents the governor of the 
island as speaking to strangers of the treasures of Solomon's 
1 books on all plants, and on all things that have life and 
1 motion ' — lost to us, but preserved there. A fond wish, a 
happy fancy, but not a reality. If the object of Revelation had 
been to teach us the wonders of the natural creation, to antici- 
pate Linnaeus and Cuvier, here was the time, here was the 
occasion, here were the works on Hebrew science ready to be 
enrolled at once in the canon of Scripture. But not so. They 
have passed away. We have the advantage of Solomon's 
example, but we have not the advantage, or, it may be, the 
disadvantage, of his speculations and his discoveries. 

3. From his riddles and his science we pass to his poetry. 
1 His songs were a thousand and five, or five thou- 
1 sand.' 

Of these, again, the larger part have been lost. Amongst 
the Psalms, only four — the 2nd, the 45th, the 72nd, and 127th 
(these last two by their titles, and all, to a certain extent, by 
their subjects) — can claim any direct connexion with Solomon 

1 Chardin, iii. 135, 143 ; Weil, 176. Christian times, under the names of the 

2 Weil, 175-213. key of Solomon, &c. (See Fabricius.) 
' Josephus, Ant. viii. 2, § 5. These, * 1 Kings iv. 32 (Heb. and UCX.). 

or the like of them, were handed on to 

His songs. 

Lac*, xxvin. MIS SONGS. 203 

himself. Two— the 88th and the 89th— are ascribed to his 
contemporaries, Heman and Ethan. Asaph, the alleged author 
of so many Psalms, is, as we have seen, in the Arabian legends, 
but without any Biblical ground, supposed to be his vizier. 
Eighteen apocryphal Psalms of Solomon remain, once incor- 
porated in the Psalter, or between Books of Wisdom and 
Ecclesiasticus, of which the Hebrew original is lost, but which 
are preserved to us in a Greek translation. They were proba- 
bly written after the profanation of the Temple l by Antiochus. 
There is nothing in them which specially attaches them to the 
history of Solomon, unless it be their plaintive strain, and their 
lament over his beloved sanctuary. 

The real Songs of Solomon were probably of a more secular 
kind. The well-known book called the ' Song of Songs/ 
1 Cantica Canticorum,' ' the Canticles '—although our own 
Hebrew scholar, Kennicott, supposed it to be of the time of 
Ezra, has by the profoundest modern scholars (I need only 
mention the great name of Ewald) been ascribed to the age, 
if not to the pen, of Solomon. Into the infinitely various 2 
interpretations of the intention and arrangement of the 
Book, we need not here inquire. From so vexed and ob- 
scure a controversy no permanent light can be thrown on 
the career of Solomon. But for our present purpose, its 
outward historical imagery and form, as it is the most clear, 
so it is the most important. The scene is such as could 
have been laid in Solomon's Court, and in no other period. In 
form it is the most direct sanction which the sacred writings 
contain of the dramatic element. We almost start at the word. 
But it is the name by which it is expressly called by the chief 
Episcopal scholars of the Greek, French, and English Churches 
— Gregory Nazianzen, Bossuet, and Lowth — and of this drama 
the stage and scenery are formed by the gardens, the luxury, 
the splendour of Solomon. 3 Nowhere else is the fragrance of 
spring, the beauty of flowers, the variety of animal life, brought 
out more worthily of the large-hearted King who entered so 

' Ewald, iv. 343. quoted there (see Ginsburg, Songof Songs, 

* The allegorical interpretation of the Introd. § 5). 
Song of Solomon has no support from the 3 See Lecture XXVII. 

New Testament. This book is not once 

204 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lect. xxyim. 

keenly into all these things. ' The winter is past, the rain is 
' over and gone ; the flowers appear on the earth ; the time of 
' the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is 
' heard in our land ; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, 
' and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, 
* my love, my fair one, and come away.' ! We feel as we read 
that this is our own feeling. It is more than Oriental, it is the 
simple, genuine sentiment of delight in nature. Whatever else 
we may learn from the Song of Solomon, we may at least learn 
the same fresh and homely lesson that has been impressed upon 
the Christian world by the new turn given to poetic feeling 
through our own Wordsworth. We may find it difficult, except 
in far-fetched allegorical explanations, to discover any directly 
religious lessons in the Song of Solomon. The name of God 
never occurs in it. But this ought to be no stumbling-block. 
Nay, it gives a special reason for its admission into the sacred 
canon, as if to show us that a book in order to be truly sacred, 
truly divine, need not of necessity have the outward expressions 
of religion or of theology,— to show us that there is something 
of itself religious and inspiring in the fervent description of pure 
natural affection, and of the beautiful sights and sounds of the 
natural world. 

4. The chief manifestation, in writing, of Solomon's wisdom 
was that of ' Proverbs,' ' Parables,' or by whatever other name 
The Pro- we translate the Hebrew word Mashal. The inward 
verbs. spirit of his philosophy (for such it might be called, 

and was the nearest approach to the Western idea which the 
Hebrew mind ever attained), consisted in questionings about 
the ends of life, propounding and answering the difficulties 
suggested by human experience. Its form was either of simili- 
tudes, or short homely maxims. 

'Proverbs,' in the modern sense of that word, 2 imply a 
popular and national origin — they imply, according to the cele- 
brated definition by one of our most eminent statesmen, not 
only 'one man's wit,' but 'many men's wisdom.' This is, how- 
ever, not the case with Solomon's Proverbs. They are indi- 
vidual, not national. It is because they represent not many 

J Cant. ii. 11-13. * Archbishop Trench, On Proverbs. 

lbct. xxviii. THE PROVERBS. 205 

men's wisdom, but one man's supereminent wit, that they pro. 
duced so deep an impression. They were gifts to the people, 
not the produce of the people. ' The words of the wise are 
'as goads,' as barbed points to urge forward to knowledge. 
This is one aspect They are also ' as nails or stakes driven ' 
hard and home into the ground of the heart, ' by the masters 
'of the assembly, by the shepherds of the people.' 1 Their 
pointed form is given to them to make them probe and stimu- 
late the heart and memory ; they are driven in with all the 
weight of authority, to give fixedness and firmness to the whole 

Although ' Proverbs ' are twice 2 mentioned in the time of 
David, and poems, under the name of ' Proverbs,' are men- 
tioned as far back as the 3 conquest of Palestine, yet, as in the 
case of the word ' Wisdom,' the connexion of ' Proverbs ' with 
Solomon can be traced by the immense multiplication of the 
word after his time. Two special causes may be noticed as 
having turned his mind and that of his people in this direction. 
One is the prevalence of this mode of composition amongst 
the Arabian tribes with whom he and they now came into con- 
tact. The elaborate prophecies of the Mesopotamian Balaam 
are called by this title. 4 The other is the adoption of this style 
by Solomon's friend and preceptor Nathan. The apologue of 
the ewe lamb, though not called a 'parable ' or 'proverb,' is the 
first instance of its application to moral and religious matters, 
and even in its form exactly resembles one in the Book of 
Ecclesiastes. 5 

The extent of this literature was far beyond what has come 
down to us. ' He spake three thousand proverbs.' 6 But of 
these, a considerable number are actually preserved in the 
Book of Proverbs. 7 The whole book emanates from his spirit. 
They abound in allusions, now found for the first time, and 
precisely applicable to the age of Solomon — to gold and silver 

1 Eccles. xii. n, with the comments cf 7 They are divided into three classes : 

Ginsburg. (i.) The Proverbs of Solomon, i.— xxiv. 

3 i Sam. x. 12, xxiv. 13. (2.) The Proverbs of Solomon, copied out 

3 Num. xxi. 27. by order of Hezekiah, xxv.— xxix. (3.) 

* Ibid, xxiii. 7, 18, &c. (Heb.). The Prophecies of Agur and Lemuel, 

c Eccles. ix. 13-15. xxx., xxxi. 
' 1 Kings iv. 32. 

206 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lkct. xxviii. 

and precious stones ; J to the duties and power of kings ; 2 tc 
commerce. 3 In them appears the first idea -of fixed education 
and discipline, 4 the first description of the diversities of human 
character. 5 In them the instincts of the animal creation are 
first made to give lessons to men. 6 Here also, as already re- 
marked, we see the specimens of those riddles which delighted 
that age. 

The Book of Proverbs is not on a level with the Prophets 
or the Psalms. It approaches human things and things divine 
from quite another side. It has even something of a worldly, 
prudential look, unlike the rest of the Bible. But this is the 
very reason why its recognition as a Sacred Book is so useful. 
It is the philosophy of practical life. It is the sign to us that 
the Bible does not despise common sense and discretion. It 
impresses upon us, in the most forcible manner, the value of 
intelligence and prudence, and of a good education. The 
whole strength of the Hebrew language and of the sacred 
authority of the book is thrown upon these homely truths. It 
deals too in that refined, discriminating, careful view of the 
finer shades of human character, so often overlooked by theo- 
logians, but so necessary to any true estimate of human life. 
* The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and the stranger does not 
' intermeddle with its joy.' How much is there in that single 
sentence of consolation, of love, of forethought ! And, above 
all, it insists over and over again, upon the doctrine, that good- 
ness is '"wisdom] and that wickedness and vice are l folly.' 
There may be many other views of virtue and vice, of holiness 
and sin, higher and better than this. But there will be always 
some in the world who will need to remember that a good man 
is not only religious and just, but wise ; and that a bad man is 
not only wicked and sinful, but a miserable, contemptible fool. 

From the Jewish philosophy of Solomon as embodied in 
the Proverbs, flowed a stream of writings and ideas which 

1 Prov. i. 9, iii. 14, 15, viii. io, 11, x. 4 Ibid. i. 3, 4, iii. x. iv. 4, vii. 1-3, x. 
20, xvi. 16, xvii. 3, xx. 15, xxii. 1, xxv. 4, 13, xxvi. 3. 

12, xxvii. 21, xxxi. 10. s Ibid. vi. 12, 13, x. 20, xi. 15, 26, xii. 

2 Ibid. xiv. 28, xvi. 10-15, x i x - I2 » xx - 2 7» >""• IJ i x ' v - 3> xv * J 8» x vi. 18, xvii. 4,. 
26. xxi. i, xxv. 2, 3, s, 6, 7, xxx. 31, xxv. 20. 

xxxi. 4. • Ibid. vi. 6, xxx. 34-28. 

* Ibid. vii. 16, 17, xxxi. 14, 21-24. 

lbct. xxviii. THE BOOK OF JOB. 207 

ceased only with the destruction of the Nation. Of these, 
perhaps, the most remarkable is the Book of Job. Whether 
The Book it was written years or centuries afterwards, whether 
of job. we re g arc i its author as an Idumaean or an Israelite, 
its derivation from the age of Solomon is equally evident. No- 
thing but the wide contact of that age with the Gentile world 
could, humanly speaking, have admitted either a subject or a 
scene so remote from Jewish thought and customs, as that of 
Job. And, again, the special locality of the story, Edom, 
agrees with the peculiar atmosphere of the ' wisdom ' of Solo- 
mon. Job, the Edomite chief, was the greatest of ' the children 
1 of the East,' 1 with whose wisdom that of Solomon is expressly 
compared. 2 The Edomite Teman, whence came Eliphaz, 
was .celebrated for its 'wisdom.' 3 The whole book is one 
grand 'proverb' or 'parable.' It is a proof that the mode of 
instructing by fiction — the gift of reproducing a past age in 
order to give lessons to the present — is not, as we sometimes 
think — a peculiarly modern idea. The definition of ' Wisdom ' 
is given with a particularity worthy of the Proverbs. 4 The 
likeness to the Proverbs of Agur is almost verbal. The allu- 
sions to the horse, the peacock, crocodile, and the hippopotamus, 
are such as in Palestine could hardly have been made till after 
the formation of Solomon's collections. The knowledge of 
Egypt and Arabia is what could only have been acquired after 
the diffusion of Solomon's commerce. The questions dis- 
cussed are the same as those which agitate the mind of Solo- 
mon, but descending deeper and deeper into the difficulties of 
the world. The whole book is a discussion of that great pro- 
blem 6 of human life which appears in Ecclesiastes and in the 
Book of Psalms — What is the intention of Divine Providence 
in allowing the good to suffer ? The greatness and the calami- 
ties of Job are given in the most lively forms. The three aged 
friends are the 'liars for God,' the dogged defenders of the 

1 Job i. 3. intuitive genius that the same thought had 

* 1 Kings iv. 30. occurred to him. ' It is possible tkat 

•Job xv. 2-8, 18, 19; Jer. xlix. 6; ' Solomon wrote this book : for it is almost 

Obadiah 8, 9 ; Baruch iii. 22. The whole ' his way of speaking.' 

of this argument is powerfully stated in * Job xxviii. 20-28. 

Kenan, Livre de Job, Pref. p. xxvii. See * Carlyle, Lecture* on Hero Worship. 

Lecture III. 60. It is a mark of Luther's 

208 THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON. lbct. xxvm. 

traditional popular belief. Elihu is the new wisdom of the 
rising world, that, like the Grecian Chorus, with the sanction of 
the Almighty, sets at nought the subtle prejudices of the older 
generation. The scanty faith of the Patriarch comes out from 
the trial triumphant. It is the Prometheus, the Hamlet, the 
Faust, 1 as it has been well called, of the most complete age of 
Jewish civilisation. 

The Book of Ecclesiastes, which, in its style of mingled 
precept and apologue, still retains so much of the framework 
of the Proverbs that Symmachus, in his Greek translation, 
calls it ' the Speaker of Proverbs,' must be reserved for the 
close of Solomon's reign. But the line of sacred literature did 
not end with Ecclesiastes. The Septuagint and Vulgate add 
two more to complete what are called the five ' Libri Sapien- 
* tiales.' Of these the first is the one book, expressly called by 
the name which properly belongs to them all, ' the Wisdom of 
' Solomon.' The traditions of exact authorship, which had 
begun to fluctuate in Ecclesiastes, waver still more in the 
Book of Wisdom. Clement of Alexandria, Cyril, Origen, 
Book of Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, and Epiphanius, 
wisdom. believed that it was written by the great King whose 
name it bears. All critics now are of opinion that it was the 
work of an Alexandrian Jew. But it is one link more in the 
chain by which the influence of Solomon communicated itself 
to succeeding ages. As the undoubted 'Wisdom,' or Proverbs 
of Sojomon, formed the first expression of the contact of 
Jewish religion with the philosophy of Egypt and Arabia, so 
the apocryphal ' Wisdom of Solomon ' is the first expression of 
the contact of the Jewish religion with the Gentile philosophy 
of Greece. Still the apologue and the warning to kings keeps 
up the whole strain ; still the old ' Wisdom ' makes her voice 
to be heard ; and out of the worldly prudence of Solomon 
springs, for the first time, in distinct terms, ' the hope full of 
' immortality.' 2 

One further step remains. ' The wisdom of Joshua, the 
' son of Sirach,' through its Latin title known as ' Ecclesiasticus,' 

1 Quinet, Genie de Religions, p. 368. 

' Wisdom i, 1, vi. 1, 9, iii. 1-4, v. 1-5, &c, &c. 


is a still more direct imitation of the works of Solomon — ac- 
cording to S. Jerome, not merely of the Proverbs, but of 
„ , . the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles all in one. 

Book of . ' ' 

Ecciesias- We might now seem to have reached the verge to 
which the ' Wisdom of Solomon ' extended. But it 
is just at this moment that it strikes out in two new lines, 
each of the utmost importance in the history of the Chosen 
People— each by a continuous process carried back to Solomon 

The first of these came directly from that contact with the 
Greek philosophy, of which the two apocryphal books are the 
earliest outward expression. 

The exaltation and the personification of ■ Wisdom ' lent 
itself to those abstract speculations which drew out the difTe- 
The Doc rent ideas wra pt up in the Divine Essence. ' Sophia, 
trine of or * Wisdom,' became the feminine, as 'Logos,' or 

Wisdom. 1-1 i- • /- i 

Reason, was the masculine, representation of the 
doctrine of the Divine Intelligence communicating itself to the 
mind of man. Accordingly, when on Christ's appearance, the 
stores of the Greek language were ransacked to furnish ex- 
pressions adequate to the occasion, the word ' Wisdom,' <ro<f>io., 
was called forth to do service for the last time, in the Jewish 
history, on the grandest scale. Three times in the New Testa- 
ment itself, the term is actually applied. ! The next generation 
of Christian theologians found, in the pathetic expostulations 
of Wisdom, and the descriptions of her eternal greatness, the 
fittest exponents of the words and nature of Christ j and in 
the Eastern Church the name has been perpetuated for ever 
in the cathedral of its greatest see. 'Santa Sophia' is the 
christianisation and divinisation of the word which was be- 
queathed to the Church of Solomon. 

The other is a still closer connexion. Not only was Christ 
the subject in which the name of The Wisdom of Solomon 
The teach founcl lts last an( * highest application, but His teach- 
in- by ing was the last and highest example of the thing itself. 


If we look back to the older Scriptures for the models 
on which, in form at least, our Lord's discourses are framed, 

1 Luke vii. 35, xi. 49 ; iCor. i. 24. 
II *> 

210 7HE DECLINE OF SOLOMON. *,ect. xxviii. 

it is, for the most part, not the Psalms, nor the Prophecies, 
nor the Histories, but the works of Solomon. Not only do 
the short moral and religious aphorisms resemble in general 
form the precepts of the Proverbs and of Ecclesiasticus, but 
the very name by which the greater part of His teaching is 
called is the same as that of the teaching of Solomon. He 
spoke in "parables' or 'proverbs.' The two Greek 1 words 
are used promiscuously in the Evangelical narratives, and are 
in fact representatives of one and the same Hebrew word. It 
is, we might say, an accident that the Proverbs of Solomon are 
not called the ' Parables,' and that the teachings of the New 
Testament are called the ' Parables ' and not the ' Proverbs ' 
of the Gospels. The illustrations from natural objects, the 
selection of the homelier instead of the grander of these, are 
not derived from the Prophets, or from the Psalmist, but from 
the wise Naturalist, 'who spake of trees, and beasts, and 
' fowls, and creeping things, and fishes,' ' of the singing-birds, 
' of the budding fig-tree, of the fragrant vine.' 2 The teaching 
of Solomon is the sanctification of common sense in the Old 
Testament, and to that sanctification the final seal is set by the 
adoption of the same style and thought in the New Testament 
by Hftn who, with His apostles, 3 taught in ' Solomon's porch,' 
and expressly compared His wisdom to the wisdom which 
gathered the nations round Solomon of old. 4 

IV. From this, the highest honour ever rendered to Solo- 
mon, we must pass, before completing the cycle of his wisdom, 
The decline to tne sa d story of his decline. The Arabian tra- 
of Solomon, ditions relate that in the staff on which he leaned and 
which supported him long after his death, there was a worm 
which was secretly gnawing it asunder. The legend is an apt 
emblem of the dark end of Solomon's reign. As the record of 
his grandeur contains a recognition of the interest and value of 
secular magnificence and wisdom, so the record of his decline 
and fall contains the most striking witness to the instability of 
all power that is divorced from moral and religious principle. 

' Tlapafi iAtj and napnifjua. tine, chap. xiii. 

2 i Kings iv. 33 ; Cant. i. 12, 13, vi. it, 3 John x. 23 ; Acts iii. 11. v. 12. 

vii. 12, 13, &c. Comp. Sinai and Pales- * Matt. xii. 42 ; Luke xi 31. 

iacr. xxviii, ITS CAUSES. 211 

As Bacon is, according to the popular, though perhaps unjust, 
verdict of English history, 

1 The wisest, brightest, meanest, of mankind,' 

so is Solomon in Jewish history. Every part of his splendour 
had its dark side, and those dark shades have now to be 
brought out. 

There is a bold expression of Schiller that the Fall was a 
giant stride in the history of the human race. A reverse of this 
saying may be applied to the giant stride which Jewish civili- 
sation made in the reign of Solomon. It brought with it the 
fall of the Jewish nation. The commercial intercourse with 
foreign nations, the assimilation of the Israelite monarchy to 
the corresponding institutions of the surrounding kingdoms, 
though it was, as we have seen, indispensable to certain 
elements of the church and state of Judaea, yet was fraught 
with danger to a people whose chief safeguard had hitherto 
been their exclusiveness, and whose highest mission was to 
keep their faith and manners distinct from the contagion of 
the world around them. It is not for us to say that this 
danger was inevitable. The mere fact of the wide extension 
of the Christian Church and Religion — Jewish, Semitic, 
Palestinian, in their origin — shows that, under certain con- 
ditions, the breadth and length of a religion is as essential as 
its depth and elevation. But the time was not yet come. The 
gigantic experiment of Solomon, though partially and pro- 
spectively successful, yet in greater part and for the moment 
failed. Neither he nor his country was equal to the magnitude 
of the occasion. As he is the representative of the splendours 
of the monarchy, so is he also the type and cause of its ruin. 

Four main causes of corruption are indicated in 

Its causes. . , 

the sacred narrative. 
i. Of all the institutions of an Oriental monarchy, the most 
characteristic and the most fatal is polygamy. It is not on 
Solomon, but on David, that the heavy responsibility 
oygamy. rests ^ Q f nav j n g fj rs t introduced polygamy on an ex- 
tended scale into the court of Israel. But Solomon carried it 
out to a degree unparalleled before or since, and his wider 


212 THE DECLINE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxviii. 

intercourse with foreign nations gave him a wider field for 
selection. The chief Queen, no doubt, was the Egyptian 
Princess. But she was surrounded by a vast array of inferior 
wives and concubines, all of them, as far as appears, of foreign 
extraction ; from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Phoenicia, and the 
old Canaanitish races. 1 Such a system must have completely 
destroyed the character of the royal family, and brought with 
it the inevitable evils of the Oriental seraglio. 

It may be that the direct demoralisation of the nation was 
not equal in proportion to that of the Court. The seraglio is 
considered a royal privilege, and the mass of an Eastern popu- 
lation is always monogamist. But the general loosening of the 
moral and intellectual character by licentiousness is described 
by Solomon in the Book of Proverbs in terms which assume a 
mournful interest when viewed in their exemplification in the 
life of their author. The dangers that haunted the streets of 
Jerusalem, the disastrous consequences of revelry and de- 
bauchery, seem to be the description of a modern Western 
capital, rather than of an Oriental city. But, if the most 
recent expositions of the Canticles be correct, that book con- 
tains a picture both of the peril which the Jewish morality 
must have encountered, and also of its pure and successful 
resistance. The maid of Shunem is courted by Solomon, but 
courted in vain. She remains faithful to her true lover, and in 
their passionate expressions of affection, and in their mutual 
alarms for each other's safety, lies the lasting 2 interest and in- 
struction of the story. 

2. The most direct proof of the effect of these foreign in- 
fluences over Solomon was in the authorised establishment of 
idolatrous worship. This was in part, we may sup- 

Polytheism. ? . . r .. . . J r r 

pose, a system of toleration, necessarily arising out of 
the entanglement of Palestine with other countries. And the 

The number of the whole harem is of them may have been for state. Darius 

stated in i Kings xi. 3, at the almost in- Codomannus took 360 concubines to battle 

credible amount of 700 wives and 300 con- (Curt. iii. 3, 24). Rehoboam had only 18 

cubines. This number has been attempted queens and 60 (Josephus, 30) concubines, 

to be reduced from 700 to 70, and from 300 2 Chr. xi. 21. See Rosenmiiller, A. und 

to 80 ; which would be confirmed by the N. MorgenL iii. 181. 

actual and relative numbers given in Cant. 2 See Renan, C antique des Cantiques , 

vi. 8,— 60 wives and 80 concubines. Some Ginsburg on the Canticles. 

ubct. xxviii. ITS CAUSES. 213 

narrative implies that it was not Solomon himself who indulged 
in these foreign rites, so much as his wives and concubines 
under his sanction or permission. Still, the mere fact of the 
rise of idolatrous altars, not merely, as may have been the case 
before, in remote corners of the Holy Land, but in the very 
sight and neighbourhood of the Holy City and Holy Place, 
must have exercised a wide influence over the whole country. 
The ' daughter of Pharaoh ' either conformed to the national 
religion, or at any rate required no Egyptian sanctuary. But 
on the southern heights of Olivet, looking towards the royal 
gardens, were three sanctuaries, on three distinct eminences, 
consecrated respectively to Astarte, the goddess of Phoenicia, 
to Chemosh, the war- god of Moab, and to Milcom (or Molech), 
the divine 'king ' of Ammon. 1 The licentious and cruel rites 
with which these divinities were worshipped gave a name of 
infamy to the whole mountain. In part, or in whole, it received 
from these shrines the name of ' the Mount of Offence,' which 
it retained, together with the more innocent name of ' Olivet/ 
till the Christian era, when the darker name was confined to 
the southernmost of the four heights of which that mountain is 
composed. The statues and shrines remained, till they were 
destroyed by Josiah. 

3. Along with this depravation of morals and religion fol- 
lowed, not unnaturally, a depravation of that just and wise policy 
^ . of government, which had won for Solomon the ad- 

Despotism. . ° . .' „ _ . ,. _ . , . .,, 

miration and love of his subjects. Little is said, but 
much is implied, of the oppressive burdens which, in Solomon's 
later years, extended from his Canaanite subjects to the free 
Israelite population. His enormous expenses had obliged him, 
towards the end of his reign, even to part with a portion of 
territory, in discharge of his obligations to the King of Tyre. 
Apparently, it was at this time 2 that the twelve ■ officers ' were 
appointed, as over foreign countries, to collect taxes from the 
various districts, like the Landvogts of Austria or the Harmosts 
of Lacedaemonia, in their foreign dependencies. The aged 
Adoniram had become so unpopular that his life was only 

1 x Kings xi. 5, 7 ; 2 Kings xxiii. 13. 

1 Since two of them were the King's sons-in-law. 

214 THE DECLINE OF SOLOMON. lect. xxvm. 

preserved by the great prestige of Solomon's name. The aged 
counsellors who stood round him were dismayed, the rising 
generation of subjects who grew up round him were exas- 
perated, and the insolent young courtiers who gathered round 
his son were encouraged, by seeing ' the heavy yoke,' ' the 
* grievous service,' ' the chastisement of whips,' with which 
Solomon tried to press down the spirit and independence of 
his people. 1 The government of the wise King was rapidly 
becoming as odious to the Israelites as that of the 2 race of 
Tarquin, in spite of all their splendid works, to the patricians 
of Rome. Mutterings of the coming storm were already heard, 
both abroad and at home. The chiefs of Edom, and of Syria, 
again raised their heads 3 in revolt, and now for the first time 
appeared, although his overt acts are implied rather than stated, 
the founder of the future rival dynasty, Jeroboam. 

4. This last event introduces us to the darkest of the 
clouds which rested on the declining fortunes of Solomon. 
Absence of From whatever cause, the one institution of the 
Prophets. Jewish commonwealth which received no visible 
growth or encouragement during Solomon's reign, was the 
Prophetical order. Of Nathan, his Prophet-teacher, we hear 
nothing after his inauguration, except that the Prophet's two 
sons, Azariah and Zabud, held, as we have seen, distinguished 
offices in the court, and that Solomon's reign was partially 
recorded by Nathan. The only Prophet who takes an active 
part, and that quite in the close of the reign, is Ahijah of 
Shiloh. 4 It is not clear whether it was through his mouth in 
the first instance, or through a dream, as in the earlier periods 
of Solomon's life, that the Divine intimation was conveyed 
announcing the disruption of his kingdom and the fall of his 
house. But in either case it was a significant token of the ap- 
proaching calamity, that the Prophet once more, as in the time 
of Saul, stood opposed to the King. 

This is all that is told us in the historical books of Solomon's 
last acts. ' He was buried ' in the royal sepulchre with his 
father, David. 5 

1 1 Kings xii. 4, 7, 11, 14. • According to 1 Kings xi. 42, in the 

* See Arnold's Rome, i. 89. 40th, according to Josephus {Ant. viii. 7, 

• 1 Kings xi. 14-25. * Ibid. 29. § 8), in the 80th, year of his reign. 

L*rr. xmu. HIS END. 21$ 

In one sense, the whole subsequent history of the disruption 
and of the divided kingdom is a continuation of the dark shadow 
The end of which fell over the last years of Solomon. But we 
Solomon. return to the great King himself, and would fain ask 
what was his own final state amidst the decay of the present, 
and the forebodings of the future. Theologians used to vex 
themselves with the question, whether Solomon was amongst 
the saved or the lost. Irenaeus, Hilary, Cyril of Jerusalem, 
Ambrose, and Jerome, lean to the milder view. The severer 
is adopted by Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, and Gregory the 
Great. So frequently was the question discussed, and so equally 
balanced did it seem, that in the series of frescoes on the walls 
of the Campo Santo at Pisa, Solomon is represented in the 
resurrection at the last day as looking ambiguously to the right 
and to the left, not knowing on which side his lot will be cast. 

It is far more profitable to take Solomon, as the Bible 
represents him to us, in his mingled good and evil. He is the 
chief example in Sacred History of what meets us often in 
common history — the union of genius and crime. The record 
of his career sanctions our use of the intellectual power even 
of the weakest or the wickedest of mankind. As Solomon's 
fall is not overlooked in consideration of his power and glory, 
so neither because he fell does he cease to be called the wisest 
of men, nor is his wisdom shut out from the Sacred Volume. 
It is a striking instance of the law that good, once done, can 
never be entirely undone, wisdom, once spoken, can never be 
entirely recalled. The sensual and cruel worship which Solo- 
mon established on the hills of Palestine has passed away — 
even the dissolution of his empire has but little intrinsic im- 
portance for us. But the wise words which he wrote, in spite 
of his later failings, still continue, and have given birth, as we 
have seen, to the like wisdom, age after age. Fear not to use 
the learning and the genius of heathens, of heretics, nay, must 
we not even say of infidels, and of profligates. Fear not, for the 
Scriptures still contain, and the Church still reads, the Proverbs 
of the apostate King, the words of one who sanctioned, if he 
did not adopt, some of the worst idolatries that have polluted 
the earth. 


But there is a more precise and peculiar lesson to be derived 
from the history which tells how the promise of youth was over- 
cast by the evil passions of manhood, or the worldliness of age ; 
how the wisdom of Solomon was turned into folly ; his justice 
into tyranny \ his prosperity into misery and ruin. Out of that 
darkness, itself filled with warning, one voice comes to us, with 
doubtful and hesitating accents, but still the nearest approach 
or echo that we can now attain to the voice of Solomon him- 

The Book of Proverbs is, in the Canon of the Old Testa- 
ment, followed by the book called, in the Greek, Ecciesiastes, in 
The Book of tne Hebrew, Koheleth, in the English, the ' Preacher.' 
Ecciesiastes. ^he < Preacher ' represented in it is no doubt Solo- 
mon. The writer was, in some Jewish traditions, supposed to 
be Isaiah, in some Hezekiah, and in the Christian Church, 
since the time of Grotius, many distinguished scholars l have 
supposed, from the character of the language, compared with 
that of the Proverbs, and from the general allusions, that it 
must be of a later date still. We have a splendid sanction of 
the same kind of personification in the Book of Wisdom. But, 
however this may be, there can be no doubt that Ecciesiastes 
embodies the sentiments which were believed to have proceeded 
from Solomon at the close of his life, and therefore must be 
taken as the Hebrew, Scriptural, representation of his last 
lessons to the world. 

What those lessons were, have, by reason of the obscurity 
of the style, been matters of considerable doubt. Many, both 
Jewish and Christian, of former times, have been so strongly 
impressed by the gloom, the despair, the supposed Epicureanism 
which pervades the book, as to wish to reject it altogether from 
the canon of Scripture. The Jewish doctors hesitated to receive 
it. 2 The most renowned ' interpreter ' of the ancient Eastern 
Church rejected it in the fifth century. Abulfaragius, in the 
fourteenth century, doubtless drew from this book his mournful 
representation of Solomon as a disciple of the sect of the 

1 See Ginsburg's excellent history of 2 Jerome, Comm. on xii. 13 ; Rabbi 

the literature of the subject in his Com- Jehuda in Spinosa, Tract. Theologicopol. 
mentary on Ecciesiastes. cap. x. 45 ; Preston's Eccksiastes, 13, 74. 

lect. xxviii. THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES. 21? 

sceptical Empedocles. Even in England, the doubters and 
scoffers amongst our half-educated mechanics often take refuge 
under the authority of Solomon, and make the Book of Eccle- 
siastes alternately the sanction of their own unbelief, and a 
ground of attack against the general faith of the Bible. 

But a more careful insight will supply us with a true answer 
to these difficulties, and make us feel both the value of Eccle- 
siastes as a part of Scripture, and also its close connexion with 
the character and career of the wise King of Israel. 

As the Book of Job is couched in the form of a dramatic 
argument between the Patriarch and his friends, as the Song of 
Songs is a dramatic dialogue between the Lover and the 
Beloved One, so the Book of Ecclesiastes is a drama of a still 
more tragic kind. It is an interchange of parts, higher and 
lower, mournful and joyful, within a single human soul. It is 
like the struggle between the two principles in the Epistle to the 
Romans. It is like the question and answer of the 'Two 
' Voices ' of our modern poet. It is like the perpetual strophe 
and antistrophe of Pascal's Pensees. But it is more complicated, 
more entangled, than any of these, in proportion as the cir- 
cumstances from which it grows are more perplexing, as the 
character which it represents is vaster, and grander, and 
more distracted. Every speculation and thought of the 
human heart is heard, and expressed, and recognised in turn. 
The conflicts which in other parts of the Bible are confined 
to a single verse or a single chapter, are here expanded to a 
whole book. 

Listen, not with scoffing or disbelief, but with reverence and 
sympathy, to its darker strains. No history in the Bible is more 
disappointing than the close of the life of Solomon. No book 
in the Bible is sadder than the Book of Ecclesiastes. The 
nearest approach to it in the Sacred writings is to be found in 
two of the Psalms, the 88th and 89th, ascribed by their titles 
to two of Solomon's greatest contemporaries : Heman and 
Ethan. Like Ecclesiastes, they bear marks of being themselves 
of later date, put into the mouths of those two famous oracles of 
ancient wisdom. Like it, too, they present the profound melan- 
choly of human experience, lit up here and there with a gleam 

21 8 WISDOM AND DECLINE OF SOLOMON, lect. xxviii. 

of brighter hope. 1 In Ecclesiastes, the first prevailing cry is 
that of weariness and despair. ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. 
' . . . I looked on all that my hands had wrought, and on 

* the labour that I had laboured to do : and, behold, all 

* was vanity and vexation of spirit. ... In much wisdom is 
' much grief. ... He that increaseth knowledge increaseth 

* sorrow. Therefore I hated life, because the work that is 

* wrought under the sun is grievous unto me ; for all is vanity 

* and vexation of spirit.' 2 Deep as is the melancholy which 
fills the soul of the Preacher, as he is thus described in the 
contemplation of his own life, it is deeper still as he looks 
round on the wide world which through him was first opened 
to the eyes of Israel. ' I returned, and considered the oppres- 
' sions that were done under the sun : and beheld the tears of 
' such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter. . . . 
' Wherefore I praised the dead that were already dead more 
' than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better than both 
1 they is he which hath not been. . . . That which befalleth the 
1 sons of men befalleth beasts — as the one dieth, so dieth the 
1 other ; yea, they have one breath ; so that a man hath no 
1 pre-eminence above a beast, for all is vanity. . . . All things 
1 come alike to all : there is one event to the righteous and to 
1 the wicked. ... to the clean and to the unclean. ... As is 
4 the good, so is the sinner. . . . Time and chance happeneth 
' to them all.' 3 This cry is indeed full of doubt, and despair, 
and perplexity ; it is such as we often hear from the melancholy, 
sceptical, inquiring spirits of our own age ; such as we often 
refuse to hear, and regard as unworthy even a good man's 
thought or care. But the admission of such a cry into the 
Book of Ecclesiastes shows that it is not beneath the notice of 
the Bible, not beneath the notice of God. It is not the voice 
of abstract right, or truth, or religion, but it is the bitter, the 
agonised, and in this sense the most true and characteristic, 
utterance, of one who has known all things, been admired by 
all men, has seen through all the littleness and worthlessness of 
all these things in themselves, and yet not been able to grasp 

1 Comp. especially Ps. Ixxxviii. 5, 6, 12, 18, lxxxix. 46-50. 

2 Eccl. i. 2, 18, ii. ii, 17. 3 Ibid. iv. 1-3, iii. 19, ix. 2, XX. 

lkct. xxvm. THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES. 219 

that which alone could give them an enduring value, or com- 
pensate for their absence. ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.' 
Doubt can find a place even in the sacred books j despair even 
in the heart of inspired wisdom. 

But, along with this unbelieving cynical distress, are other 
elements gradually gaining ground. First, there is the profound 
experience of human life, expressing itself in strains of wisdom 
so refined, so serious, as to belong rather to a modern age, than 
to that when the book was composed. ' To everything there is 

* a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven : a 

* time to be born, and a time to die ; a time to plant, and a 
1 time to pluck up that which is planted ; a time to kill, and a 
1 time to heal ; a time to break down, and a time to build up ; a 
1 time to weep, and a time to laugh j a time to get, and a 
1 time to lose j a time to keep, and a time to cast away ; a 
1 time to rend, and a time to sew ; a time to keep silence, and a 
1 time to speak ; a time to love, and a time to hate ; a time of 

* war, and a time of peace.' 1 How many of the worst con- 
troversies and scandals which have beset the history of the 
Church would have been spared, if this doctrine of the wise 
man had been remembered, that there is a proportion in all 
things : that what is right at one time is wrong at another ; 
that what is wisdom in one age is folly in another ! 

But there are strains of a still higher mood. Amidst the 
darkest gloom, there come, from time to time, counsels from an 
entirely opposite quarter. Cheerfulness, resignation, the call 
to do our duty, however dreary and uncertain the future — the 
more cheerfully and actively, as the future is more dreary and 
more uncertain : ' Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and 
1 drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy 
1 works. . . . Live joyfully with the wife that thou lovest all 
1 the days of the life of thy vanity ; for that is thy portion in 
1 this life, and in thy labours which thou takest undt/ the sun. 
1 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for 
1 there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in 
1 the grave, whither thou goest.' 2 And the tone of the book, 
as it draws to the end, becomes at once more harmonious 

1 Eccl. iii. 1-8. * Ibid. Lx. 7-10. 


with itself and more serious. ' Rejoice, O young man, in thy 
4 youth ' . . . (this still is to continue), ' but know thou that 
' for all these things God will bring thee unto judgment. Re- 
1 move sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy 
1 flesh ... yet remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, 
1 while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when 
1 thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.' * There is a deep 
solemnity, but there is no murmur, in the description which 
follows of the end which awaits us a]l. ' Then shall the dust 
1 return to the earth as it was : and the spirit shall return to 
1 God who gave it.' 2 

But even this is not the end. There is a yet simpler and 
nobler summary of those varied encounters with the manifold 
problems of life, as represented in the greatness and the fall of 
Solomon. It is not 'vanity of vanities,' it is not 'rejoice and 
' be merry,' it is not even ' wisdom and knowledge, and many 
' proverbs, and the words of the wise, even words of truth.' 
' Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a 
' weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the 
1 whole matter.' For all students of ecclesiastical history, for 
all students of theology, for all who are about to be religious 
teachers of others, for all who are entangled in the controver- 
sies of the present, there are no better words to be remembered 
than these, viewed in their original and immediate application. 
They are the true answer to all perplexities respecting Eccle- 
siastes and Solomon ; they are no less the true answer to all 
perplexities about human life itself : ' Fear God, and keep His 
1 commandments ; for this is the whole duty of man. For God 
1 shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, 
' whether it be good, or whether it be evil.' 3 

1 Eccl. xi. 9, io, xii. i. * Ibid. xii. 7. * Ibid. xii. 12, 13, 14. 







I. I. The ' Chronicles, or State Papers, of the Kings of Israel,' men- 
tioned especially in the cases of Jeroboam (i Kings xiv. 19), 
Nadab (xv. 31), Elah (xvi. 14), Omri (xvi. 27), Ahab (xxii. 
39), Jehu (2 Kings x. 34), Jehoahaz (xiii. 8), Joash (xiii. 12, 
xiv. 15), Jeroboam II. (xiv. 28), Zachariah (xv. 11), Pekah 
(xv. 31), Shallum (xv. 15), Menahem (xv. 21), Pekahiah (xv. 

2. The ' Book of the Kings of Israel,' 2 Chr. xx. 34. 

3. The ' Visions of Iddo against Jeroboam ' (2 Chr. ix. 29) ; the ' Pro- 

phecy of Ahijah the Shilonite ' (ib.) ; the ■ Transactions (lit. 
Words) of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer ' (xii. 15) ; 
the ' Story {Midrash) of Iddo ' (xiii. 22) ; and of Jehu the son 
of Hanani (xx. 34, probably I Kings xxii. ) ; a prophecy of 
Jonah (2 Kings xiv. 25). 
II. The Prophetical book, originally one book (Jerome, Pro/, galeatus), 
though now divided into two, called ' Kings ' (Hebrew) and 
'Kingdoms' (LXX.), or called after its first words, 'And King 
David ' {Ouammekch David, Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 25) ; 
with a few additions from the Book of Chronicles. 
(I.) 1 Kings xii. I— xiv. 20; 2 Chr. x. 1- xi. 17, xiii. I — 20 (Jero- 
boam) ; 1 Kings xv. 25 — xvi. 20 (Baasha and Zimri). 

222 THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. lbct. xxix. 

(2.) I Kings xvi. 21 — 2 Kings viii. 15 ; 2 Chr. xviii. xxii. 6- 12 (House 

of Omri) 
(3.) 2 Kings ix. 1— x. 36, xiii. 1-25, xiv. 8-16, 23-29, xv. 8-12 

(House of Jehu). 
(4.) 2 Kings xv. 13-26, 27-31, xvii. 1-23 ; 2 Chr. xxviii. 6-15 (Close 

of the Monarchy). 
III. Illustrations from Zechariah ix. 1 — xi. 17; Hosea ; Amos; Nahum ; 

Isaiah vii. I — ix. 21, xv. xvi. xxviii. ; Micah i. 5-9 ; Jonah ; 

Psalms lxxvii. (see verse 15), lxxx. (verses 1, 2), lxxxi. (verse 

5), lxxxiii. (verse 4?), lxxxv. (verse 1 ?). 
IV. Illustrations from the Assyrian Inscriptions. These are collected 

in Rawlinson's Bampton Lectures (Lect. iv. ); and Five Great 

Monarchies, chaps, vii. viii. ix. 
V. Jewish traditions in Josephus (Ant. viii. 8 — ix. 14), Jerome (Quest, 

Hebraica\ and the Seder Olanu 

lbct. mix. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. 223 



The period of the Jewish monarchy on which we now enter is 
broken into two portions : the first consisting of the three cen- 
turies during which the northern kingdom existed, and occu- 
pied the most prominent position ; the second, of the remaining 
century, during which the Kingdom of Judah was left alone. 
Partly from this natural division of time, chiefly because there 
is a real unity and distinctness of design in the history of each 
of the two kingdoms, I propose to keep them apart from each 

The name by which the northern kingdom was called car- 
ries with it a fulness of meaning which we sometimes overlook. 
_. . . It was the kingdom of 'Israel.' It must have ap- 

Theking- ,° . f 

dom of peared at the time, and it was, to a great degree, the 
kingdom of the whole nation. It was a national 
watchword, and not the war-cry of a single tribe, which led the 
revolt : 

* What portion have we in David ? 
Neither have we inheritance with the son of Jesse : 
To your tents, O Israel : 
See to thine own house, David.' 

As after the death of Saul, Abner ' took Ishbosheth . . . 
1 and made him king . . . over all Israel,' while ' the men of 
its national ' Judah . . . anointed David king over the house of l 
character. « Judah,' so 'it came to pass that all Israel . . . 
1 made Jeroboam king over all Israel j there was none that 

1 3 Sam. ii. 8, 9, 4. 

224 THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. lbct. xxix 

1 followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.' 1 
From the extreme north down to the very confines of the fast- 
nesses of Judaea ; from the Mediterranean Sea to the Assyrian 
desert, and even to the Euphrates, the Kingdom of Israel still 
reached. It included not only the territory which centred 
round Ephraim, but reached away north and south : to the 
distant Naphtali beyond the sources of the Jordan ; to the 
tribes beyond the Jordan ; through the whole valley of the 
Jordan down to its exit into the Dead Sea ; to the corner 2 of 
Dan on the sea-coast. The frontier tribes of Simeon and of 
Benjamin, which were almost enclosed within the dominion of 
Judah, gave divided allegiance to both kingdoms. It embraced 
the chief seats of secular and of religious greatness, Bethel, 
Shechem, Mahanaim, Jericho, Gilgal, at times even Beersheba. 2 
Only the patriarchal burial-place of Hebron and the Davidic 
capital of Jerusalem were beyond its reach. With the neigh- 
bouring state of Phoenicia, and with its maritime neighbours of 
the Mediterranean, through Acre, and through Jaffa, Israel, 
and not Judah, was brought into connexion. Even though 
Damascus for a time broke loose, yet the commerce of Palmyra 
and Baalbec must have continued. Moab and Ammon, so far 
as they were held in check at all, were dependent on Israel, not 
on Judah. 

The Kingdom of Israel was the National Kingdom, and the 
Church of Israel was the National Church. In the later Pro- 
phetical books written during the decline of the 
pheticai northern kingdom, when the trans-Jordanic tribes 
were carried off, it was known by the name of its 
chief tribe, Ephraim, 4 and of its chief city, Samaria. But in 
the Historical books it is always ' Israel,' and in the earlier 
Prophetical books it is usually 'Israel,' 5 or 'the children of 
1 Israel,' or else bears the still more significant names of 'Jacob,' 
' Isaac,' and ' Joseph.' 6 The original idea of the disruption was 

1 i Kings xii. 20. three passages in Isaiah (vii. 2, xi. 13, 

2 Zorah belonged to Judah (2 Chr. xi. xxviii. 1, 3) ; and in one Psalm (lxxviii. 9). 
10). 5 ' Israel ' is for the first time used f r 

3 Amosv. 5, viii. 14 ; on the other hand, Judah, after the destruction of Samaria, 
1 Kings xix. 3. Zech. xii. 1. 

* Ewald, iii. 412. The name occurs B Amos iii. 13, vi. 8, vii. 2, 5, 9, 16; 

many times in Hosea and Zechariah ; in Hosea xii. 2 ; Amos vi. 6. 

lbct. xxix. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. 22 5 

that it was a Divine dispensation. 'The thing was from the 
1 Lord.' 1 It was as much part of the Divine economy of the 
national destinies as the erection of the monarchy itself, or as 
the substitution of the House of David for the House of Saul. 
1 Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, / will rend 

* the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten 

* tribes to thee ... I will take thee, and thou shalt reign 
1 according to all that thy soul desireth, and thou shalt be king 
1 over Israel.' 2 'I exalted thee from among the people, and 
1 made thee prince over My people Israel, and rent the kingdom 
'away from the house of David, and gave it thee.' 3 So spoke 
the two chief prophets of the period, Shemaiah and Ahijah. 
They were the support of the new dynasty of Jeroboam, as 
Samuel had been of the new dynasty of David. Jeroboam 
seemed to them to furnish the promise of a future David ; and, 
although this was not fulfilled, yet the Prophetic hopes were 
still recruited from the ranks of Israel. Dynasty after dynasty 
was raised up with the Prophetic sanction. Of Baasha, no less 
than of Jeroboam and of David, it was said, ' the Lord exalted 
1 him out of the dust, and made him prince over His people 
1 Israel.' 4 Over the head of Jehu, as over the head of Saul, of 
David, and of Solomon, was poured the sacred oil of consecra- 
tion, with the words, ' Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Be- 
1 hold / have anointed thee to be king over the people of the 
'Lord, even over Israel.' 5 There is no indication, even 
amidst the worst crimes of the rulers of Israel, of a desire to 
return to the dominion of Judah, or to take a prince from the 
House of David. The Prophetical activity of the time, amidst 
whatever discouragements, is to be found in the kingdom not of 
Judah, but of Israel. The schools of the Prophets had been 
originally, and still continued to be, not at Jerusalem, but at 
Raman, at Bethel, at Gilgal — all situated within the northern 
state. They live there with their wives and children. 6 They 
are counted by fifty, by hundred, by five hundred at a time. 
For the two centuries which followed the disruption there are 
(if we accept Joel as of doubtful date) only two who belong 

1 i Kings xii. 15, 24. J Ibid. xiv. 7, 8. * 2 Kings ix. 6, 7. 

' Ibid. xi. 31-37. * Ibid. xvi. • Ibid. iv. 1, 38. 

II. O 

226 THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. lect. xxrx. 

exclusively to Judah, namely, Hanani l the seer, and Eliezer of 
Mareshah. 2 Of the others, who by birth or dwelling place 
might be reckoned to Judah, as Iddo the seer, Amos, the elder 
Zechariah, and Jehu the son of Hanani, their ministrations, as 
far as we know, are almost exclusively directed to Israel. 
Micaiah the son of Imlah, Jonah, and Hosea, belong entirely to 
the northern kingdom. Elijah and Elisha grow up, speak, teach, 
live, and pass away, entirely in the Church of Israel. Not a 
message of blessing or warning, if we except the one short 
address of Elisha to 3 Jehoshaphat, and the one short letter of 
Elijah to 4 Jehoram, reaches the Kings of Judah. Nazarites, 
too, naturally fostered by the example of Elijah, were an estab- 
lished institution of Israel. 5 A like institution, a prolongation 
of the primitive Bedouin life into the civilisation of the mon- 
archy, was that of the Rechabites. 6 The Jordan valley, or the 
glades of Carmel, the natural resort of devout seclusion, 
attracted these and other companies of religious men, who 
lived, like John the Baptist, or the Essenes, amongst the caves 
or leafy thickets of both these regions. It is only in the last 
dissolution of the northern kingdom that the seat of Prophecy 
is transferred from the ancient schools of the North to Judah 
and Jerusalem. 

There was nothing in the external state of the Kingdom of 
Israel to contradict this assumption of superiority over the 
itsspien- Kingdom of Judah. Except at intervals, and with 
dour - the standing modifications introduced by Jeroboam, 

the ancient worship continued. The three great festivals, the 
immense variety of sacrifices, the new moons and the sabbaths 
were assiduously celebrated. The new Temple was attended 
by King and Priest, and resounded with Psalms of its own, 
accompanied by the peculiar musical instruments introduced 
by David. 7 The forms of the Court of David were continued 
even with more splendour than at Jerusalem. It was distin- 
guished chiefly by the stronger prominence of the military 

1 2 Chr. xvi. 7. 3 Ibid. xx. 37. * 2 Kings x. 15 ; Jer. xxxv. 

3 2 Kings iii. 14. ' Hosea ii. 11, vi. 6, viii. 13, ix. 4; 

* 2 Chr. xxi. 12-15. Amos iv. 4, v. 21-23, y i- 5> v »>- 3> 10. (Sec 

8 Amos ii. 11. Dr, Pusey on Hosea, s>. 2.) 

lect. xxix. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. 227 

character of the original monarchy. As in Judah, there was 
the office of Captain of the Host, of such importance that the 
individual holding it twice succeeded in obtaining possession 
of the throne, 1 and favours were asked of him as of the King 
himself. 2 The chariots and horses introduced by Solomon are 
now so far organised, that we hear for the first time of two 
divisions of cavalry, each with an officer at its head. 3 The 
same general divisions of the army continued — the thirty 
officers, 4 and the bodyguard of runners. 5 In one important 
respect, the ancient military glory of Israel was, if not confined 
to the northern kingdom, yet regarded as eminently charac- 
teristic of it. Judah, with all its warlike qualities, had never 
been celebrated for its archery. The use of the bow was there 
a late acquisition. 6 But in Benjamin and Ephraim it had been 
an habitual weapon. The bow of Jonathan was known far and 
wide. The children of Ephraim were characterised as ' carrying 
1 bows.' 7 And so the chief weapon of the Captain of the Host 
of Israel was his bow. 8 The King of Israel had always his bow 
and arrows with him. 9 The sign of the fall of the kingdom was 
the breaking of the bow of Israel. 10 The sign of their weakness 
was that they were like a deceptive bow. • l The Kings of Israel 
drive about in chariots, with horsemen 12 behind them (as in the 
time of Solomon) and a charioteer driving. 13 There was, as in 
the Court of the Kings of Judah, the Officer of the Household, 
the Chief Minister of the King, who at times entertained him 
at banquets,' 4 and who was received as his representative. 15 
The King had a noble attached to his person, on whose arm, 
in the true Oriental style, he leaned when he appeared in 
public. 16 There was a governor of the capital, who bore the 
exalted name of the 'King 17 of the City.' The King's sons 
also occupied important places in the state, when the King 

1 1 Kings xvi. 16 ; 2 Kings ix. 5. ,0 Hos. 1. 5. 

* 2 Kings iv. 13. " Ibid. vii. 16 ; Ps. lxxviii. 57. 

s 1 Kings xvi. 9. 12 1 Kings xviii. 45, 46 ; compare 3 

* 2 Kings x. 25, ix. 25 (Heb.). Kings ix. 25. 

4 Ibid. x. 25 (Heb.). '» Ibid. xxii. 34. 

* 2 Sam. i. 18. '* Ibid. xvi. 9. 

' Ps. lxxviii. 9. IS Ibid, xviii. 3, 6. 

* 2 Kings ix. 24. ie 2 Kings vii. 2. 

* Ibid. xiii. 15, 16. w 1 Kings xxii. 26 (LXX.). 


228 THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. lect. xxix. 

himself went out to war. 1 The court was not, as in Judah, 
confined to a single capital. Shechem, in spite of its unrivalled 
attractions, never became to the North what Jerusalem was to 
the South. The Sovereigns of Israel followed the tendency by 
which princes of all times have been led to select pleasant resi- 
dences apart from the great cities of State. This difference 
arose partly from the absence of fixed religious associations at 
Shechem, partly from the succession of dynasties. It was also 
fostered by the greater opportunities furnished in the North 
for such an increase of royal residences. In the territory 
of Ephraim — in this respect the exact reverse of Judah — the 
fertile plains and wooded hills, which are its characteristic 
ornaments, at once gave an opening for the formation of parks 
and pleasure-grounds like the ' Paradises ' of the Assyrian and 
Persian monarchies. The first of these was Tirzah, in the hills 
north of Shechem, of proverbial beauty, selected by Jeroboam, 
and during three reigns the 2 residence and burial-place of the 
royal house. Another was Jezreel. The chief of all was Sama- 
ria, which ultimately superseded all the rest. In these capitals 
the Kings resided, and were buried, as it would seem, with the 
same pomp as that which accompanied the interment of the 
Kings of Judah in the vaults of the sepulchre of David. It is, 
however, a difference characteristic of the two lines of history, 
that whereas the Kings of Judah were all allowed to rest in 
their burial-places, it was the savage practice in the revo- 
lutions of Israel, not merely to leave unburied the corpses 
of the dethroned and murdered kings, but to disinter the 
remains of the whole royal family, and leave them to be 
mangled by the beasts and birds of prey. Such was the fate 
that befell successively the dynasties of Jeroboam, Baasha, 
and Ahab. 

The evil effects of the dismemberment are obvious. But it 
had also its advantages in bringing out in fuller growth the 

diverse elements of the nation and of the country. 

k Every people called to high destinies,' it has been 
well said by the French scholar 3 who has brought out this 

1 i Kings xxii. 26. a 1 Kings xiv. 17, xv. i, xvi. 6, 8, 15. 

3 Renan, Vie de Jesus. 

lbct. xxix. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. 229 

peculiarity, ' ought to be a small complete world, enclosing 
' opposed poles within its bosom. Greece had, at a few leagues 
1 from each other, Sparta, and Athens, two antipodes to a 
1 superficial observer, but in reality rival sisters, necessary the 
1 one to the other. It was the same in Palestine.' The fertility, 
the freshness, the beauty of Ephraim and Manasseh, the wild 
forest scenery of Zebulun and Naphtali, of Gad and Reuben, 
were a just counterpoise to the awful barrenness of Judah and 
Benjamin. There was an exuberance of life and liberty and 
enjoyment in the North which perhaps could hardly have been 
developed in equal strength, had the whole forces of the nation 
been concentrated round Jerusalem. 'The Song of Songs,' 
which, as we have seen, breathes the sense of nature and of 
natural affection more completely than any other book in the 
Old Testament, even without accepting the conjecture which 
ascribes it to the third dynasty of the kings of Israel, is redo- 
lent not of the southern hills of Judah, but of Tirzah, of Sharon, 
and of Lebanon. 1 The vines 2 and fig-trees, the glorious beauty 
of its fertile valleys, 3 seemed the natural reward and crown of 
the favourite son of Jacob. 4 Dances and tabrets, and garlands, 
were the recognised emblems of the life of Ephraim. 5 The 
nobles, like the kings, have their separate palaces for winter 
and for summer, built, not as heretofore of brick, but of hewn 
stone, surrounded by pleasant vineyards, and fitted up with 
divans, and couches inlaid with ivory. Their banquets were 
splendid — of the choicest viands from fold and stall ; of wine 
served out in bowls that could only be compared to the large 
sacrificial vessels of the sanctuary. At these private feasts, as 
well as at their public festivals, songs were chanted ; and they 
prided themselves on the invention of new musical instruments, 
as David had added the harp and lyre to the discordant horn 
and cymbal of an earlier age. 6 The stately independence of 
Naboth in his vineyard at Jezreel, or of Shemer on the lofty 
hill to which he gave his name, and which he would sell to the 

1 Renan, Cantigue des Cantigues ; ' Judg. xxi. 19 (Heb.). 21 ; Jer. xxxi. 

Ewald, ii. 458. 4. 

Hos. ii. 12. ■ Amos iii. 12, 15, v. 11, vi. 4-6 (with 

1 Isa. xxviii. 1-4. Dr. Pusey's instructive notes). 

* Gen. xlix. 22, 25, 26. 

2$0 THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL. lkct. xxi*. 

King only at a vast price, was, doubtless, the common charac- 
teristic of many a landholder of the tribes of Ephraim and Issa- 
char. The great lady of Shunem, on the slopes of Esdraelon, 
in her well-known home, though known to us only through her 
friendship with a mighty prophet, is a sample of Israelite life in 
the north, as true as that of the reaper Boaz or the shepherd 
Nabal in the south. She manages her husband, she has her 
servant and her she-ass. Her son goes with his father to the 
rich cornfields which belong to the house. She leaves her 
home under the pressure of famine, and goes down to the 
plains of Philistia. When she returns, and finds a stranger in 
possession of her cornfields, she insists on restitution, even at 
the hand of the King himself. 1 

In scenes like these, the better spirits of the northern king- 
dom grew up, it may be with a force and freedom which they 
could hardly have enjoyed equally under the continual pressure 
of the imperial despotism of Solomon. Although, as time rolled 
on, the clouds gathered thick over the central region and the 
capital of the rival kingdom, which hung over it long after the 
monarchy itself had been destroyed, yet even in its northern- 
most parts, the furthest removed from the sanctuary at Jeru- 
salem, in the land of ' Zebulun and Naphtali,' by the way of 
the sea of Genesareth, ' Galilee of the Gentiles,' the circle of a 
mixed population, half Israelite, half heathen, described as ' a 
' people which sate in darkness, in the very region and shadow 
* of death,' a life and energy was roused which appears nowhere 
equally in the south. Out of these remote districts came some 
of the greatest of the Prophets — Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, Jonah. 
And though, in after times, it was maintained by the proud 
descendants of Judah that 'out of Galilee arose no Prophet,' 
and that from its despised villages ' no good thing could come,' 
yet by this benighted region ' a great light ' at last ' was seen ' — 
' a light ' sprang up which more than compensated for twelve 
centuries of darkness. For if Bethlehem of Judah witnessed 
the Redeemer's birth, if the city of David and Solomon assisted 
at His death— it was the forests and the birds and the flowers 
of Galilee, the haunts of Elijah and Elisha, the cradle of Jonah 

1 2 Kings iv. 18, 22, viii. 1-6. 

I00T. xxix. THE DISRUPTION. 23 1 

and Hosea, that cheered and illustrated the Divine Life, the 
life of thirty years, which has been the Life and Spirit of 

The Disruption of the kingdom was not the work of a day, 
but the growth of centuries. To the house of Joseph — that is, 
The Dis- t0 Ephraim, with its adjacent tribes of Benjamin and 
ruption. Manasseh — had belonged, down to the time of David, 
all the chief rulers of Israel ; Joshua, the conqueror ; Deborah 
the one Prophetic, Gideon the one Regal, spirit, of the Judges ; 
Abimelech and Saul, the first kings ; Samuel, the restorer of 
the state after the fall of Shiloh. It was natural that, with such 
an inheritance of glory, Ephraim always chafed under any 
rival supremacy. Even against the impartial sway of its own 
Joshua, 1 or of its kindred heroes, Gideon or 2 Jephthah, its 
proud spirit was always in revolt : how much more when the 
blessing of Joseph seemed to be altogether merged in the bless- 
ing of the rival and obscure Judah ; when the Lord ' refused 
• the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, 
' but chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He had loved.' 3 
All these embers of disaffection, which had well-nigh burst into 
a general conflagration in the revolt of Sheba, 4 were still glow- 
ing : it needed but a breath to blow them into a flame. 

It was a year after the death of Solomon, that his son Reho- 
boam arrived at Shechem for his inauguration. It would seem 
that the ancient capital had not lost its hold altogether on the 
country, even after the foundation of Jerusalem. The high 
spirit of the tribe of Ephraim had been bent, but not broken. 
Their representatives approached the new King with a firm 
but respectful statement of their grievances — the enormous 
exactions of the late king, and the expenditure of the revenues 
of the kingdom on the royal establishments. 5 The pause before 

1 Josh. xvii. 14-18. See Lecture XI. * See Lecture XXIV. 

* Judges viii. 1-3, xii. 1-6. Lecture 5 ' Thy father made his yoke heavy 

XV. ' upon us, and made the meat of his table 

' Ps. lxxviii. 67. 'heavy.' (LXX. version of 1 Kings xii. 4.) 

232 THE HOUSE OF JEROBOAM. lbct. xxix. 

a great catastrophe is always solemn. The sacred historian 
looks back upon the three days during which Reho- 
boam hesitated, with a grief which no partiality to the 
house of David has been able to suppress. The demands of 
the nation were just. The accumulated wisdom of the great 
Solomonian era recommended concession. The old counsel- 
lors gave just such advice as might have been found in the 
Book of Proverbs. Only the insolence of the young courtiers 
imagined the possibility of coercing a great people, and hoped 
that the little finger of the new Prince would be stronger than 
the loins of his mighty father. It was a doomed Revolution. 
' The King hearkened not unto the people : for the cause was 
1 of God.' The cry of insurrection was the same that had been 
raised in the time of David ; but with the tremendous difference 
that now the fatal day was at last come. The sacred names of 
David and of Jesse had lost their spell. 'See to thine own 
1 house, David.' It was with one exception a bloodless revolt. 
The oldest, as he must have been, of that elder generation 
which had counselled moderation, but the most obnoxious 
from the orifice which he held, Adoram, the tax-collector, was 
sent by the King to quell the insurrection. They regarded 
him as a common enemy, and he fell under the savage form of 
execution which was usual for treason and blasphemy. He 
was stoned to death, and the King fled from Shechem, never 
to return. 

The tribe of Ephraim was once more independent. Who 
was to fill the vacant throne ? There was one man, who, by 
his office and his character, had long ago been indicated as the 
natural successor of Joshua. 1 At the time when Solomon was 
constructing the fortifications of Millo underneath the citadel of 
Zion, his sagacious eye discovered the strength and activity of 
a young Ephraimite who was employed on the works, and he 

1 The account of the life of Jeroboam account inserted by the LXX. at i Kings 

is given in two versions, so different from xi. 43, and xii. 24. This last contains such 

each other, and yet each so ancient, as to evident marks of authenticity in some of 

make it difficult to choose between them. its details, and is so much more full than 

The one usually followed is that contained the other, that it will be most conveniently 

in the Hebrew text, and in one portion of taken as the basis of our account. 
the LXX. The other is given in a separate 

ffctt. xxix. JEROBOAM. 2$$ 

raised him to the rank of officer over the taxes and labours 
exacted from the tribe of Ephraim. 1 This was Jero- 
jeroboam. k oam y[\s father had died in his youth, but his 
mother, who had been a person of loose character, 2 lived in 
her widowhood, trusting apparently to her son for support. 3 
Jeroboam made the most of his position. He completed the 
fortifications, and was long afterwards known as the man who 
had ' enclosed the city of David.' 4 In his native place, Zereda 
or Sarira, he lived in a kind of royal state. Like Absalom 
before him, in like circumstances, though now on a grander 
scale, in proportion to the enlargement of the royal establish- 
ment itself, he kept three hundred chariots and horses, 6 and 
was at last perceived to be aiming at the monarchy. 

These ambitious designs were probably fostered by the sight 
of the growing disaffection of the great tribe over which he pre- 
sided, as well as by the alienation of the Prophetic order from 
the house of Solomon. 

He was banished by Solomon to Egypt. But his exile only 
increased his importance. The reigning king was Shishak, and 
with him, Jeroboam, like his ancestor Joseph, acquired so much 
influence, that when, on Solomon's death, he demanded Shishak's 
permission to return, the Egyptian king, in his reluctance, seems 
to have offered any gift which could induce Jeroboam to remain, 
and the consequence was the marriage with Ano, the elder sister 
of the Egyptian queen, Tahpenes, 6 and of another princess, who 
had married the Edomite chief, Hadad. A year elapsed, and 
a son, Abijah (or Abijam), was born. Then Jeroboam again 
requested permission to depart, which was granted ; and he 
returned with his wife and child to his native place, Sarira, or 
Zereda. It is described as a commanding situation, such as 
Solomon would naturally have chosen, as a fortress to curb the 
haughty tribe. Now that the great king was gone, this very 
fortress, strengthened by Jeroboam after his return, became the 
centre of the disaffected population. 

1 i Kings xi. 28. 2 LXX. Sarira (LXX.) ; in the latter case, as if in- 

3 Her name is variously given as dicating that there was some connexion 

Zeruah (Heb.) or Sarira (LXX.), and between the wife of Nebat and her resi- 

the place of their abode on the mountains dence. * LXX. s LXX. 

of Ephraim is given either as Zereda, or " LXX. Thekemina. 

234 THE HOUSE OF JEROBOAM. lect. xxix. 

Still there was no open act of insurrection, and it was in 
this period of suspense that a pathetic incident darkened the 
house of Jeroboam. His infant son fell sick. The 
anxious father sent his wife to inquire of God con- 
cerning him. Jerusalem would have been the obvious place to 
visit for this purpose. But no doubt political reasons forbade. 
The ancient sanctuary of Shiloh was nearer at hand ; and it so 
happened that a prophet was now residing there, of the highest 
repute. It was Ahijah — the same who, according to the com- 
mon version of the story, had already been in communication 
with Jeroboam, but who, according to the authority we are now 
following, appears for the first time on this occasion. He was 
sixty years of age, 1 but was prematurely old, and his eyesight 
had already failed him. He was living, as it would seem, in 
poverty, with a boy who waited on him, and with his own little 
children. For him and for them, the Egyptian princess brought 
such gifts as were thought likely to be acceptable ; ten loaves, 
and two rolls for the children, 2 a bunch of grapes, and a jar of 
honey. She had disguised herself to avoid recognition ; and 
perhaps these humble gifts were part of the plan. But the 
blind Prophet, at her first approach, knew who was coming ; 
and bade his boy go out to meet her, and invite her to his 
house without delay. There he warned her of the uselessness 
of her gifts. There was a doom on the house of Jeroboam, 
not to be averted. The child alone would die before the cala- 
mities of the house arrived : ' He shall mourn for the child.' — 

* Woe, O Lord, for in him there is found a good word regarding 

* the Lord,' — or, according to the other version, 'All Israel shall 
1 mourn for him, and bury him ; for he only of Jeroboam shall 
' come to the grave. ' 3 The mother returned. As she re-entered 
the town of Sarira, 4 the child died. The loud wail of her at- 
tendant damsels greeted her on the threshold. 5 The child was 
buried, as Ahijah had foretold, with all the state of the child of 
a royal house. ' All Israel mourned for him. ' 6 This incident, 

1 Ahijah, according to the tradition, 2 i Kings xiv. 3 (Heb. and LXX.). 

died soon after, and was buried under an * Ibid. 13. 

oak, still visible in the fourth century at * LXX., in the Hebrew, Tirzah. 

Shiloh (Epiphanius). His tomb is stil * LXX. 

shown. • 1 Kings xiv. 18. 

user, xxix. SHEMAIAH. 235 

if it really occurred at this time, seems to have been the turning- 
point in Jeroboam's career. It drove him from his ancestral 
home, and it gathered the sympathies of the tribe of Ephraim 
round him. He left Sarira and came to Shechem. 1 He was 
thus at the head of the northern tribes on Rehoboam's ap- 

Two Prophets presided over the formation of the new king- 
dom. One was Ahijah of Shiloh, the other was Shemaiah 2 ' the 
b.c. g 8 5 . ' Enlamite.' The Prophet— whichever it 3 was, or at 
shemaiah. whatever juncture — appeared in a long royal garment, 
so new that it had never been washed. He stripped it off, tore 
it into twelve shreds, and gave ten of them to Jeroboam, in 
token of the ten tribes that were to fall to his sway. Im- 
mediately after the stormy conference with Rehoboam, Jero- 
boam, in accordance with this omen, was elevated to the throne, 
and then once more the Prophet Shemaiah threw his powerful 
protection over the new kingdom, and warned off the invading 
army from the 4 south. Jeroboam lost no time in consoli- 
dating his power. His early architectural skill was brought 
into play. He was known as the great castle-builder of his 
time. Not Millo only, and Sarira, but the fortifications of 
Shechem, and of Penuel beyond the Jordan, were traced back 
to him. 5 

Down to this point, the religious unity of the nation had 
remained unimpaired. This unity appeared to the new King 
inconsistent with the separate frontier of his kingdom. The 
Priestly caste were closely linked with the founder of their 
glory in the house of David ; they were, by the nature of their 
office, specially attached to the Temple at Jerusalem. Fol- 
lowing, doubtless, the precedent of the deposition of Abiathar 
by Solomon, he removed from their places the whole of the 
sacerdotal order as it was constituted in the north, and allowed 

1 The Hebrew text describes that he is ascribed to Ahijah years before, even 
was sent for. The LXX. speaks of it as in Solomon's lifetime, is in the Greek 
his own act. text ascribed to Shemaiah at this very 

2 Probably the Shemaiah of i Kings xii. crisis. 

22, 2 Chron. xi. 2. The title given him by * This is in accordance with the He- 

the LXX.— 'the Enlamite '—does not, brew text of 1 Kings xii. 22, and 2 Chron. 

however, appear in the Hebrew. xi. 2. 

3 The act which in the Hebrew text ' 1 Kings xii. 25. 

2$6 THE HOUSE OF JEROBOAM. user. xxix. 

the establishment of a new Priesthood, l consecrated by peculiar 
rites of their own. He determined also on creating two new 
seats of the national worship, which should rival the newly- 
established Temple of the rival dynasty. It was precisely the 
policy of Abder-rahman, caliph of Spain, when he arrested the 
movement of his subjects to Mecca, by the erection of the holy 
place of the Zeca at Cordova, and of Abd-el-Malik when he 
built the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem because of his 
quarrel with the authorities of Mecca. But he was not satisfied 
without another deviation from the Mosaic unity of the nation. 
His long stay in Egypt had familiarised him with the outward 
forms under which the Divinity was represented. A golden 2 
figure of the sacred calf of Heliopolis was set up at each 
sanctuary, with the address — ' Behold thy God which brought 
Consecra- ' tnee U P out °f tne l an d of Egypt.' 3 The sanctuary at 
tion of Dan, jj an) as fa e m0 st remote from Jerusalem, was conse- 
crated first. It was long afterwards held as a tradition in the 
north of Palestine, that one family, in the ancient sanctuary of 
Kadesh Naphtali, that of Tobit, 4 had refused to share in this 
strange worship of 'the heifer.' But the more famous shrine 
was at the southern frontier of the kingdom, in the 

and Bethel. , . , _ Jf , / 

consecrated patriarchal sanctuary of Bethel ; there 
the grand inauguration was to take place, and a Festival, 
which, though a month later in the year, was evidently intended 
to correspond to the Feast of Tabernacles. 5 The fifteenth day 
of the eighth month arrived. Jeroboam was there doubtless 
in his royal state, as Solomon at Jerusalem, to offer incense on 
the altar, which, we may suppose, was raised within the temple 
that rose on the hill of Bethel, ' the house of God,' oldest of 
all the sanctuaries of Israel and of the world. 

It was in this pause that the first Prophetic protest was 
made against the new worship. It is as though the Sacred 
History wished to emphasise the. precise moment at which the 
Prophetic order recovered its equilibrium, and at which the 

1 i Kings xii. 31, xiii. 33 ; 2Chr. xi. 15, the people, and goring the priests (Epipha- 

xiii. 9. nius, Vit. Proph.). 

8 Ahijah had, according to the legend, * 1 Kings xii. 28. * Tobit i. 5, 6. 

s«en in a dream two oxen treading down s 1 Kings xii. 33, 33. 

lkct. xxix. IDDO. 237 

first beginnings of a long superstition were pointed out. Sud- 
denly there rose before the King a Prophet to whom 
the Sacred Book gives no name. He had come for 
this one special purpose. He was not to receive hospitality in 
coming or going. He was not even to address his message to 
the King, but to the dumb monument of division, the ground- 
work of future evil, which stood in the temple. ' O altar, 
1 altar, thussaith the Lord.' The rent in the altar, the withering 
of the King's hand, the urgency of the elder Prophet to induce 
the younger to break his vow, the untimely death of the 
younger Prophet in consequence — are so many additional 
touches of solemnity in the record of the disastrous inaugura- 
tion of the Temple of Bethel. 

Like all that relates to Jeroboam's career, this story ! is 
obscured by conflicting versions. Who was the mysterious 
Prophet ? He has been called by many names — Joam, ac- 
cording to Epiphanius ; Abd-adonai, according to Clement ; 
Jadon, according to Josephus. 2 We can hardly mistake in 
the last of these names, the Grecised form of Iddo the seer. 
He was the author of a work of genealogies, as well as of 
histories of the reigns of Solomon, of Abijam, 3 and of Reho- 
boam ; and it adds to the impressiveness of the warning, if we 
may suppose that it came from the Chief Prophet of the time. 
The motives of the Prophet of Bethel are so obscurely given 
in the Sacred Narrative, and so differently related in the 
tradition of Josephus, 4 as almost to defy our scrutiny. He 
seems to be one of those mixed characters, true to history and 
human nature, which perpetually appear amongst the sacred 
persons of the Old Testament ; moved by a partial wavering 
inspiration ; aiming after good, yet failing to attain it ; full of 
genuine tender admiration for the Prophet, of whose death he 

1 That the narrative is long subsequent * Joseph. (Ant. viii. 9, § 1) describes 

to the events related in it, appears from the the elder Prophet as moved by jealousy, 

phrase ' cities of Samaria' (1 Kings xiii. and as explaining away to Jeroboam the 

3 2 )- miracles that attended the coming of the 

a See Epiphanius, Vit. Proph. c. 3; Judaean Prophet. 'The king's arm was 

Clemens Alexand. Horn. i. 21 ; and Jo- ' fatigued, the altar fell because it was 

sephus, Ant. viii. 8, § 5. 'new.' In Josephus the divine warning 

2 Chr. ix. 29, xii. 15, xiii. 22. He of 1 Kings xiii. 20, 21, came direct to 

is possibly the same as Oded, 2 Chr. xv. the younger Prophet. 

1,8; LXX. \85a or 'A56w. / 

238 THE HOUSE OF JEROBOAM. lbct. xxix. 

had been the unwilling cause, the mouthpiece of truths which 
he himself but faintly understood. 

The recollection of this scene lingered long on the spot. 
The sanctuary of Bethel outlived even the monarchy l of 
Samaria. The ' calf was counted as the God 2 of Israel. It 
was regarded as specially the Royal Temple. A succession of 
Priests ministered within it, and were buried in the long array 
of rock-hewn tombs in the valley beneath. Musical services 
resounded within its courts. But the altar still was considered, 
at least by the Southern Prophets, as an accursed spot. The 
doom which Iddo had pronounced upon it was fulfilled, if not 
before, at least when in one of the earthquake shocks in the 
time of Amos 3 it was shaken to its foundations. And when 
at last the place was devastated on the fall of the kingdom with 
which it was connected, Josiah pulled down the whole struc- 
ture, and had its very stones ground to dust, and mingled with 
the ashes of the bones which he found in the adjacent caves. 
One only monument was left standing. The story of Iddo 
was still remembered in the neighbourhood. The oak, pro- 
bably the consecrated oak of Deborah, under which he had 
sate — the spot, as it would seem, where, on the rocky road, the 
body had been found with the lion and the ass standing by, 
were still known ; and over his grave had been raised a me- 
morial which even the ardour of Josiah's reformation did not 

The details of Jeroboam's end are lost to us. It is over- 
crowded by unsuccessful wars with Judah, by wasting illness, 
The ' sin of an d Dv tne violent convulsion in which his remains 
Jeroboam. an( j those of his children were torn from their sepul- 
chres. 4 To observe clearly wherein his sin consisted, is to 
observe the moral of the whole of this part of the history. It 
was not that he had revolted against the house of Judah. For 
this, according to the narrative, had been put upon him by the 
direct providence and sanction of God. Nor that he had 

' 2 Kings xvii. 28, xxiii. 15. firmed by the LXX. reading of 1 Kings 

a Hosea viii. 5, xiii. 2 (Ewald). xiii. 3: Swaec. Ttpas iv eiceivj) tjj rjfiepq-. 

* That the rending of the altar took In that case verse 5 is inserted prolepti- 

place in the time of Amos (ix. 1) t« con- cally. * 1 Kings xiv. 10, 11, xv. 29. 

lbct. xxix. THE 'SIN OF JEROBOAM.' 239 

fallen into idolatry. This was the sin of Solomon and Reho- 
boam, against which his whole career was a perpetual protest. 
It was that to secure those good ends he adopted doubtful 
and dangerous means. The anticipations of the Prophets 
concerning him had been frustrated. Like the apostolic Las 
Casas in the sad history of South America, they saw with bitter 
grief the failure of the institution which they had fostered, and 
from which they had hoped so much. It is this reflection 
which gives a keenness of regret to the epithet so many times 
repeated, ' The sin of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made 
1 Israel to sin.' To keep the first commandment, he broke the 
second ; to preserve the belief in the unity of God, he broke 
the unity and tampered with the spiritual conception of the 
national worship. The ancient sanctity of Dan and Bethel, 
the time-honoured Egyptian sanction of the Sacred Calf, were 
mighty precedents ; the Golden Image was doubtless intended 
as a likeness of the One True God. But the mere fact of 
setting up such a likeness broke down the sacred awe which 
had hitherto marked the Divine Presence, and accustomed 
the minds of the Israelites to the very sin against which the 
new form was intended to be a safeguard. From worshipping 
God under a false and unauthorised form, they gradually learnt 
to worship other gods altogether ; and the venerable sanc- 
tuaries at Dan and Bethel prepared the way for the Temples 
of Ashtaroth and Baal at Samaria and Jezreel j and the 
religion of the Kingdom of Israel at last sank lower even 
than that of the Kingdom of Judah, against which it had 

' The sin of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat,' is the sin again 
and again repeated in the policy, half-worldly, half-religious, 
which has prevailed through large tracts of ecclesiastical history. 
Many are the forms of worship in the Christian Church, which, 
with high pretensions, have been nothing else but 'so many 
' various and opposite ways of breaking the second command- 
' ment.' Many a time has the end been held to justify the 
means ; and the Divine character been degraded by the 
pretence or even the sincere desire of upholding a Divine 
cause : for the sake of secular aggrandisement, for the sake of 

243 THE HOUSE OF JEROBOAM. lect. xxix. 

binding together good systems, which, it was feared, would 
otherwise fall to pieces, for the sake of supporting the faith of 
the multitude from the fear lest they should fall away to rival 
sects, or lest the enemy should come and take away their place 
and nation, false arguments have been used in support of reli- 
gious truths, false miracles promulgated or tolerated, false read- 
ings in the sacred text defended. And so the faith of mankind 
has been undermined by the very means intended to preserve 
it. The whole subsequent history is a record of the mode by 
which, with the best intentions, a church and nation may be 

lect. xxx. THE HOUSE OF OMRI, 241 




The revolution that planted the house of Omri on the throne 
can be traced with more or less distinctness from its 
resemblance to that by which the same dynasty was 
itself overthrown. 

For the space of no less than twenty-seven years, there had 
continued one of those long sieges that have made the cities of 
Philistia famous. Ashdod was afterwards besieged by Psam- 
meticus for exactly the same period, as was now the case with 
Gibbethon. 1 The camp before Gibbethon, as afterwards that 
at Ramoth-gilead, became as it were a separate power in the 
state. It was there that Baasha had surprised and murdered 
Nadab, and extirpated the whole of the royal family of Jero- 
boam. He himself had risen from the ranks — ' from the dust ' 
— and a new Prophetic glory hung for a moment over his path. 
But he too adopted the policy of the dynasty which he had 
overthrown ; and for this, as well as for his cruelty to the fallen 
family, the signal for his destruction was given by the Prophet 

The first who dealt the deadly blow was not the one who 
ultimately succeeded. The cavalry was divided into two por- 
tions — one apparently at the camp, the other nearer 
the capital of Tirzah. 2 It was over this body that 
the first conspirators presided. Zimri, possibly the descendant 
of the royal house of Saul, 3 attacked the King in a drunken 

1 i Kings xt. 27, xvi. 15. 2 Ibid. xvi. 9, 16. 

3 1 Chr. viii. 30. See Lecture XXI. 

242 THE HOUSE OF OMRI. lect. xxx. 

revel in the house of the chief officer of his court, and murdered 
him and the whole of the royal family before assistance could 
be procured from the army. 1 

It was but a brief victory. The rapid vengeance on Zimri 

was a tradition which long lingered in the memory of the royal 

family of Israel. 2 As soon as the news' reached the 

The House , , , ,. _, 

of Omri. camp, the true successor to the house of Baasha was 
chosen in the person of Omri, the captain of the host. 
Zimri fled into the interior, perhaps into the harem, of the 
palace, and perished, Sardanapalus-like, in the flames. 3 His 
usurpation had lasted only for a week. But a civil war broke 
out on his death, between Omri on the one side and two 
brothers, Tibni and Joram, 4 on the other, which, after a dura- 
tion of four years, ended in the triumph of Omri. 

His accession to the throne after such a succession of 
troubles would of itself have been an epoch. But it was signifi- 
cant in many ways. He must have been himself remarkable, 
from the emphatic manner in which his name is used as the 
founder 5 of his family, and even of the monarchy itself, as well 
as from the one incident which is recorded of him. 

As Constantine's sagacity is fixed by his choice of Con- 
stantinople, so is that of Omri by his choice of Samaria. Six 
Foundation miles from Shechem, in the same well-watered valley, 
of Samaria, fere opening into a wide basin, rises an oblong hill, 
with steep yet accessible sides, and a long level top. This was 
the mountain of Samaria, or, as it is called in the original, 
Shomeron, so named after its owner Shemer, who there lived 
in state, and who sold it to the King for the great sum of two 
talents of silver. It combined in a union not elsewhere found 
in Palestine, strength, beauty, and fertility. It commanded a 
full view of the sea and the plain of Sharon on the one hand, 
and of the vale of Shechem on the other. The town 6 sloped 

1 i Kings xvi. 9, 10 ; Josephus, Ant. ria is styled in the Assyrian inscriptions 

viii. 12, § 4. ' the house of Omri ; ' and even Jehu, 

3 2 Kings ix. 31. the destroyer of the dynasty of Omri, 

3 1 Kings xvi. 18. (See Ewald, iii. is called in the same documents ' the son 

451.) 'of Omri.' (Rawlinson, Five Monarchies, 

* Ibid, ai, 22 (LXX.). ii. 364.) The ' Statutes of Omri ' are 

5 Athaliah, though daughter of Ahab, mentioned by Micah (vi. 16). 

is called the ' daughter of Omri ; ' Sama- 6 2 Kings vi. 33. See Lecture XXXIII. 

lbct. xxx. AHAB. 243 

down from the summit of the hill ; a broad wall with a terraced 
top ! ran round it. Outside the gates lived a colony 2 of un- 
happy lepers, such as are still to be seen under the walls of 
Jerusalem. In front of the gates was a wide open space or 
threshing floor, 3 where the Kings of Samaria sate on great 
occasions. The inferior houses were built of white brick, with 
rafters of sycamore j the grander of hewn stone and cedar. 4 It 
stood amidst a circle of hills, 5 commanding a view of its streets 
and slopes, itself the crown and glory of the whole scene. 6 Its 
soft rounded oblong platform was, as it were, a vast luxurious 
couch, in which its nobles rested securely, 'propped and 

• cushioned up on both sides, as in the cherished corner of a 

* rich divan.' 7 

It was the only great city of Palestine created by the 
sovereigns. All the others had been already consecrated by 
Patriarchal tradition, or previous possession. But Samaria was 
the choice of Omri alone. He indeed gave to the city which 
he had built the name of its former owner, but its especial 
connexion with himself as its founder is proved by the desig- 
nation which, it seems, Samaria bears in Assyrian inscriptions — 
Beth-Khumri — ' the House, or Palace, of Omri.' 8 

With this change of capital a new era opened on Israel, 
which was continued on the accession of Omri's son Ahab. 
Ahab. Ne\v cities were built in various parts of the king- 

b.c. 919. dom. 9 Two especially are named, both remarkable 
for the beauty of their situation. One was rather a revival than 
a creation. It was in the days of Ahab, that a daring architect 
_ . of Bethel, named Hiel, ventured to raise Tericho 

Jericho. . ...- r . z-ti 

from its ruins, in defiance of the curse of Joshua, 
which received its fulfilment in the death of the architect's 
eldest son at the beginning, and youngest son at the comple- 
tion, of his design. 10 The other was a new royal residence, 

1 2 Kings vi. 26, 30. * Isaiah xxviii. 1. 

' Ibid. vii. 3. T Amos. iii. 12 (Dr. Pusey's note). 

5 1 Kings xxii. 10. Possibly the name * Rawlinson, Bampton Lee, 105 j 
remained after the original use had de- Herod, i. 465, 7. 

parted. • 1 Kings xxii. 39. 

* Isaiah ix. 9, 10. '• Ibid. xvi. 34. 

* Amos iii. 9. 


244 THE HOUSE OF OMRI. lect. xxx. 

erected by Ahab, at Jezreel, although not superseding his father's 
choice of Samaria. It was planted on a gentle eminence, in 
the very centre of the rich plain — ' the seed or sowing- 
' place of God,'— from whence, doubtless, it derived 
its name ; commanding the view of Carmel on the west, and 
the valley of the Jordan on the east. Towards this side, a high 
tower stood commanding the eastern approach. 1 The palace 
was built close on the city wall, above the gateway, and the 
windows of the seraglio looked out to the public street imme- 
diately within the gate. 2 Within its walls, or forming a con- 
spicuous part of the royal residence, was a palace built wholly 
or in part of ivory, 3 a proof that the commerce of Solomon, by 
which elephants' tusks were brought from India, had not yet 
ceased ; and an example of architecture that apparently spread 
to the dwellings of the Israelite aristocracy. 4 

In accordance with this growth in arts and luxury, Ahab is 
the first of the northern kings who appears to have practised 
polygamy. 5 But over his harem presided a Queen 
who has thrown all her lesser rivals into the shade. 
For the first time the chief wife of an Israelite king was one of 
the old accursed Canaanite race. A new dynasty now sate on 
the Tyrian throne, founded by Eth-baal. He had, according 
to the Phoenician records, gained the crown by the murder of 
his brother, and he united to the royal dignity his former office 
of High Priest of Ashtaroth. 6 The daughter of Eth-baal was 
Jezebel, a name of dreadful import to Israelitish ears, though 
in later ages it has reappeared under the innocent form of 

The marriage of Ahab with this princess was one of those 
turning-points in the history of families where a new influence 
runs like poison through all its branches, and transforms it into 
another being. It has been conjectured by a German critic 
that the 45th Psalm, usually applied to the marriage of Solo- 
mon with the daughter of Pharaoh, was really written for the 
marriage of Ahab and Jezebel. The common opinion has 

1 2 Kings ix. 17. s 'Thy wives,' 1 Kings xx. 5 ; also the 

' Ibid. 30, 31. seventy sons, 2 Kings x. 7. 

* 1 Kings xxii. 39. * Josephus, Ant. viii. 13, § 1 ; c. A/ton. 

* Amos iii. 15, vi. 4. i. 18, 

lect. xxx. JEZEBEL. 245 

quite enough in its favour to render needless an application so 
offensive to our modern notions. Yet there are expressions 
which suit this event better than any other — ' the ivory palaces,' 
1 the daughter of Tyre,' — and, the absence of any allusions to 
Jerusalem. And there may have been at the time no more of 
evil omen to overcast the hopes of the Psalmist, than in the 
marriage feast of Solomon, or than in the alliance of David 
with Hiram. But the cloud soon began to gather. Jezebel 
was a woman in whom, with the reckless and licentious habits 
of an Oriental queen, were united the fiercest and sternest 
qualities inherent in the old Semitic race. Her husband, in 
whom generous and gentle feelings were not wanting, was yet 
of a weak and yielding character, which soon made him a tool 
in her hands. Even after his death, through the reigns of his 
sons, her presiding spirit was the evil genius of the dynasty. 
Through her daughter Athaliah— a daughter worthy of the 
mother — her influence extended to the rival kingdom. The 
wild license of her life and the magical fascination of her arts 
or her character became a proverb in the nation. 1 Round her 
and from her, in different degrees of nearness, is evolved the 
awful drama of the most eventful crisis of this portion of the 
Israelite history. 

The first indication of her influence was the establishment 
of the Phoenician worship on a grand scale in the court of Ahab. 
To some extent this was the natural consequence of the depra- 
vation of the public worship of Jehovah, by Jeroboam ; which 
seems under Omri to have taken a more directly idolatrous 
turn. 2 But still the change from a symbolical worship of the 
One True God, with the innocent rites of sacrifice and prayer, 
to the cruel and licentious worship of the Phoenician divinities, 
was a prodigious step downwards, and left traces in northern 
Palestine which no subsequent reformations were able entirely 
to obliterate. Two sanctuaries were established ; one for each 
of the great Phoenician deities, at each of the two new capitals of 
the kingdom. The sanctuary of Ashtaroth, with its accustomed 
grove, was under Jezebel's special sanction, at the palace of 
Jezreel. Four hundred priests or prophets ministered to it, and 

1 2 Kings ix. 22. 2 1 Kings xvi. 25, 26. 

240 THE HOUSE OF OMRI. lbct. xxx. 

were supported at her table. 1 A still more remarkable sanc- 
tuary was dedicated to Baal, on the hill of Samaria. It was of 
a size sufficient to contain all the worshippers of Baal 2 that the 
northern kingdom could furnish, Four hundred and fifty pro- 
phets frequented it. In the interior was a kind of inner fast- 
ness or adytum, in which were seated or raised on pillars the 
figures carved in wood 3 of the Phoenician deities as they were 
seen, in vision, centuries later, by Jezebel's fellow-countryman, 
Hannibal, in the sanctuary of Gades. In the centre was Baal, 
the Sun-God : around him were the 4 inferior divinities. In 
front of the temple, stood on a stone pillar the figure of Baal 
alone. 5 

As far as this point of the history, the effect of the heathen 
worship was not greater than it had been in Jerusalem. But 
there soon appeared to be a more energetic spirit at work than 
had ever come forth from the palace of Solomon or Rehoboam. 
Now arose the first of a long series of like events in ecclesias- 
The Perse- ^^ history— the first Great Persecution — the first 
cution. persecution on a large scale, which the Church had 
witnessed in any shape. The extermination of the Canaanites, 
however bloody, and unlike the spirit of Christian times, had 
yet been in the heat of war and victory. Those who remained 
in the land were unmolested in their religious worship, as they 
were in their tenure of property and of office. It was reserved 
for the heathen Jezebel to exemplify the principle of persecu- 
tion in its most direct form. To her, and not to Moses or 
Joshua, the bitter intolerance of modern times must look back 
as its legitimate ancestress. 

The first beginnings of the persecution are not recorded. 
A chasm occurs in the sacred narrative, which must have con- 
tained the story, only known to us through subsequent allu- 
sions, — how the persecutors passed from hill to hill, destroying 
the many altars which rose, as in the south, so in the north of 

1 i Kings xviii. 19, xvi. 33. (xviii. 19). 

2 1 Kings xvi. 32, xviii. 19, 22. For 3 2 Kings x. 26. 

the name ' Baal ' was often substituted * Compare the inscriptions at Baalbec, 

in Israelite phraseology the contemptuous in Robinson, Bib. Res. iii. 509, 521 ; and 

bosketh or ' shame.' This seems to have the vision of Hannibal in Livy, xxi. 22. 
been the text followed by the LXX. 6 2 Kings x. 27, iii. 2. 

lect. xxx. THE PERSECUTION. 247 

Palestine, to the One True God— how the Prophets who had 
hitherto held their own in Israel were hunted down as the chief 
enemies of the new religion. 1 Now began those hidings in 
caves and dens of the earth— the numerous caverns of the 
limestone rocks of Palestine — the precursors of the history of 
the Catacombs and the Covenanters. A hundred fugitives 
might have been seen, broken up into two companies, guided 
by the friendly hand of the chief minister of Ahab's court — 
the Sebastian of this Jewish Diocletian — and hid in spacious 
caverns, probably amongst the clefts of Carmel. 2 

It might have seemed as if, in the kingdom of Israel — 
down to this time a refuge from the idolatrous court of Judah 
— the last remnants of the true religion were to perish. But 
the blessing which had been pronounced on the new kingdom 
was still mightier than its accompanying curse. 

It was at this crisis that there appeared the very chief of 

the Prophets. ' Alone, alone, alone,' — so thrice over is the 

word emphatically repeated 3 — the loftiest and sternest 

spirit of the True Faith raised up face to face with 

the proudest and fiercest spirit of the old Asiatic Paganism, 

against Jezebel rose up Elijah 4 the Tishbite. 

He stood alone against Jezebel. He stands alone in many 
senses amongst the Prophets. Nursed in the bosom of Israel, 
the Prophetical portion, if one may so say, of the Chosen 
People, vindicating the true religion from the nearest danger of 
overthrow, setting at defiance by invisible power the whole 
forces of the Israelite kingdom, he reached a height equal ta 
that of Moses and Samuel, in the traditions of his country. 
He was the Prophet, for whose return in later years his 
countrymen have looked with most eager hope. The last Pro- 
phet of the Old Dispensation clung to this consolation in the 
decline of the State. 5 In the Gospel history we find this ex- 
pectation constantly excited in each successive appearance of a 
new Prophet. 6 It was a fixed belief of the Jews that he had 

1 1 Kings xviii. 4, 13, 22, xlx. io, 14 ; * His full name is Elijahu. 
2 Kings ix. 7. s Malachi iv. 5. 

2 1 Kings xviii. 13 ; compare Amos * Matt. xi. 14, xvi. 14 ; Luke ix. 8 ; 
ix. 3. John i. 21, 25, &c. 

a Ibid, 22, xix. 10, 14. 

248 THE HOUSE OF OMRI. — ELIJAH. lect. xxx. 

appealed again and again, as an Arabian merchant, to wise and 
good Rabbis at their prayers or on their journeys. A seat is 
still placed for him to superintend the circumcision of the 
Jewish children. Passover after passover, the Jews of our own 
day place the paschal cup on the table, and set the door wide 
open, believing that that is the moment when Elijah will reap- 
pear. When goods are found and no owner comes, when 
difficulties arise and no, solution appears, the answer is, ' Put 
' them by till Elijah comes.' 

He appears to have given the whole order a new impulse, 
both in form and spirit, such as it had not had since the death 
of Samuel. The companies of the Prophets now reappear, 
bound by a still closer connexion with Elijah than they had 
been with Samuel. Then they were ' companies, bands, of 
1 Prophets ; ' now they are ' sons, children, of the Prophet ; ' 
and Elijah first, and Elisha afterwards, appeared as the ' Father,' 
the 'Abbot,' the ' Father in God,' of the whole community. 1 
His mission was, however, not to be the revealer of a new 
truth, but the champion of the old forgotten law. He was not 
so much a Prophetic teacher as the Precursor of Prophetic 
teachers. As his likeness in the Christian era came to prepare 
the way for One greater than himself, so Elijah came to prepare 
the way for the close succession of Prophets who, for the next 
hundred years, sustained both Israel and Judah by hopes and 
promises before unknown. As of Luther, so of Elijah, it may 
be said that he was a Reformer, and not a Theologian. He 
wrote, he predicted, he taught, almost nothing. He is to be 
valued, not for what he said, but for what he did ; not because 
he created, but because he destroyed. 

For this, his especial mission, his life and appearance espe- 
cially qualified him. Of all the Prophets, he is the one who is 
most removed from modern times, from Christian civilisation. 
There is a wildness, an isolation, a roughness about him, con- 
trasting forcibly even with the mild beneficence of his immediate 
successor Elisha, still more with the bright serenity of Isaiah, 
and the plaintive tenderness of Jeremiah, but most of all with 
the patience and loving-kindness of the Gospel. Round his 

1 See Keil on 2 Ki.igb ii. 12. 

Ltcr. xxx. HIS PECULIARITIES. 249 

picture in the churches of Eastern Christians at the present 
day are placed by a natural association the decapitated 1 heads 
of their enemies. Abdallah Pasha, the fierce lord of Acre, al- 
most died of terror, from a vision in which he believed himself 
to have seen Elijah sitting on the top of Carmel. It is the 
likeness of his stern seclusion which is reproduced in John the 
Baptist, and which in him is always contrasted with the social, 
gentle character of Christ. He, like the Baptist, ' came neither 
1 eating nor drinking.' He, like the disciples of John, ' fasted 
' oft.' 2 He was the original type of the hermit, the monk, the 
Puritan. The barefooted Order of Carmelites, not indeed by 
historical but by spiritual descent, may well claim him as their 
founder. But he is not the type of ordinary Christians. Al- 
though ' among them that were born of woman ' in old time 
* there were none greater than * he and his representatives, yet 
1 notwithstanding, the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater 
1 than he and they.' 3 When the two Apostles appealed to the 
example of Elijah, 'to call down fire from heaven,' He to whom 
they spoke turned away with indignation from the remembrance 
of this act, even of the greatest of His Prophetic predecessors. 
' He rebuked them.' An ancient tradition, which is so entirely 
Evangelical both in form and substance that we would fain be- 
lieve it to be genuine, records that He went even further, and 
said, 'Ye know not what spirit ye are of.' 4 The Spanish In- 
quisitors in the 16th century 5 quoted the act of Elijah and the 
appeal of the sons of Zebedee as a justification of their own 
cruelties. ' Lo,' they said, ' fire is the natural punishment of 
' heretics.' They forgot, or they knew not, that the act of 
Elijah was repudiated for ever by One to whom he was but the 
distant forerunner. 

Suddenly, Elijah appears before us in the narrative, as he 
appeared in his lifetime before Ahab and the children of Israel. 
Suddenly he appears, like Melchizedec, and suddenly he dis- 
appears, 'without father, without mother, without descent, 

1 Renan, Vie de Jisits, 96. admitting into the sacred text this sublime 

1 Matt. ix. 14, 15; xi. 18, 19. conclusion of our Lord's address. 
3 Ibid. xi. 11. ' Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, i. 

* Luke ix. 55. 56. The variations of 330. 
i.he MSS. unfortunately prevent us from 

250 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH. lbct. m. 

' having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.' Not un- 
naturally did the ancient Rabbis believe him to be the fiery 
Phinehas returned to earth, or an angel hovering on the out- 
skirts of the world. Not unnaturally have the Mussulman 
traditions confounded him with the mysterious being, 'The 
1 Immortal One ' (El Khudr), the Eternal Wanderer, who 
appears, ever and anon, to set right the wrongs of earth, and 
repeat the experience of ages past. Not unnaturally did the 
mediaeval alchemists and magicians strive to trace up their dark 
arts to Elijah the Tishbite. the Father of Alchemy. The other 
Prophets — Moses, Samuel, Elisha, Isaiah — were constantly be- 
fore the eyes of their countrymen. But Elijah they saw only 
by partial and momentary glimpses. He belonged to no special 
place. The very name of his birthplace is disputed. ' There 
' was no nation or kingdom ' to which Ahab had not sent to 
find him — 'but behold, they found him not.' As soon as he 
was seen, ' the breath of the Lord carried him away, whither 
' they knew not.' He was as if constantly in the hand of God. 
' As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand,' was his habitual 
expression, — a slave constantly waiting to do his master's bid- 
ding. l For an instant he was to be seen here and there at spots 
far apart ; sometimes in the ravine of the Cherith in the Jordan 
valley, sometimes in the forests of Carmel ; now on the sea-shore 
of Zidon, at Zarephath ; now in the wilderness of Horeb, in the 
distant south ; then far off on his way to the northern Damas- 
cus ; then on the top of some lonely height on the way to Ekron ; 
then snatched away, ' on some mountain or some valley ' in 
the desert of the Jordan. He was in his lifetime, what he still 
is in the traditions of the Eastern Church, the Prophet of the 
mountains. 2 

Wherever might be the exact 3 spot of his birth, he was ' of 
' the inhabitants of Gilead.' He was the greatest representative 
of the tribes from beyond the Jordan. Their wild and secluded 
character is his no less. Wandering, as we have seen, over the 

1 i Kings xvii. i, xviii. 15. Comp. 1 nesus, p. 190). 

Kings x. 8. * It is doubtful whether ' Tishbite ' is 

2 Mar Elyas (Lord Elijah) is a common more than a mistaken reading of 'the 
name all through the Levant for prominent 'inhabitants.' See Mr. Grove on Elijah 
and sacred eminences (Clark's Pelopon- and Tishbite in Diet, o/tfu Bible. 

lkct. xxx. HIS PECULIARITIES. 25 1 

hills of Palestine, with no rest or fixed habitation— fleet as the 
wind, when, with the pressure of the Divine Hand upon him, 
he ran before the chariot of Ahab from Carmel to Jezreel — he 
was like the heroes of his own tribe of Gad, in David's life, who 
swam the Jordan in floodtime, ' whose faces were as the faces 
• of lions, and whose feet were swift as the roes upon the moun- 
1 tains ;' like the Bedouins from the same region at the present 
day, who run with unwearied feet by the side of the traveller's 
camel, and whose strange forms are seen for a moment behind 
rock or tree, in city or field, and then vanish again into their 
native wilderness. And such as they are, such was he also in 
his outward appearance. Long shaggy hair flowed over his 
back; 1 and a large 2 rough mantle of 3 sheepskin, fastened 
around his loins by a girdle of hide, 4 was his only covering. 
This mantle, the special token of his power, at times he would 
strip off, and roll up like a staff in his hand ; at other times 
wrap his face in it. 5 

These characteristics of the Arab life were dignified but 
not destroyed by his high Prophetic mission. And the fact 
that this mission was entrusted not to a dweller in a royal city 
or Prophetic school, but to a genuine child of the deserts and 
forests of Gilead, is in exact accordance with the dispensations 
of Providence in other times. So the Unity of God was asserted 
of old by the wandering chief from Ur of the Chaldees ; by the 
Arabian shepherd at Sinai; and (without offence, it may be 
added) by another Arabian shepherd, in later ages, at Mecca 
and Medina. So, in the spirit and power of Elijah, came John 
the son of Zachariah in the same wilderness whence Elijah 
came, and whence he finally disappeared, sustained by the wild 
and scanty fare of the desert, clothed in a like rough and scanty 
garb, calling the nation to repentance by the same strange 
appearance, and by the same simple preaching. So, in later 

1 Chrysostom calls him (as he does S. * 2 Kings i. 8 : comp. Mark i. 6. 

Paul) rptiTTjxv? -three cubits high. 'Elijah was evidently the type of the 

1 Addereth, 'ample,' only used besides ' modern dervishes, who allow their hair to 

in Gen. xxv. 25; Josh. vii. 21, 24; Jon. 'grow any length, and wind a leathern 

iii. 6: Zech. xi. 3, xiii. 4. See Mantle 'girdle round their loins.' (Morier, MS. 

in Diet, of the Bible. notes.) 

3 LXX. /xTjAwTjjs. A fragment of it is 6 1 Kings xix. 13 ; 2 Kings ii. 8 (HebJ. 
said to be treasured up at Oviedo. 

2 $2 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH. lkct. xxx. 

times, the anchorites of Egypt, and of Russia, have come forth 
from their solitudes with a startling effect, which nothing else 
ceuld have produced, to call kings and nations to a sense of 
their guilt, and of their duty to God and man. 

Such a Prophet was naturally marked out for the extremest 
hatred of the Court of Samaria. Emissaries were sent out to 
search for him even beyond the limits of Palestine. If he 
could not be found, vengeance was wreaked l on the spot which 
was supposed to have concealed him. But at last the persecu- 
tion itself was stayed by a visitation such as in all times of the 
world has in mercy checked even the violence of fanaticism. 

For three years an unusual drought fell upon Palestine. 
For a year, at least, it extended also to Phoenicia. 2 To our 
The minds, the word hardly conveys an adequate notion 

Drought. Q f t h e extent of the visitation. But to Eastern and 
Southern nations, where life and water go always together, 
where vegetation gathers round the slightest particle of mois- 
ture, and dies the moment that it is withdrawn ; where the 
scanty verdure of spring fades, like melting snow, before the 
burning heat of summer— the withholding of rain is the with- 
holding of pleasure, of sustenance, of life itself : the springs are 
dried up, the brooks and rivers become beds of stone, the trees 
wither, the grass vanishes, 'the heaven that is over thee be- 
* comes brass, and the earth that is under thee is as iron.' Such 
a visitation was exactly the crisis for a True Prophet to make 
himself heard. We see him in a twofold aspect ; first as an 
individual sufferer then as a public champion of God and 
instructor of the nation. 

The first story shows us the pathetic gentle recollections 
which mingled with the national traditions even of this stern- 

TheCherih est °^ tne P ro P nets - ^ n tne green thickets which 

gathered round the yet unexhausted waters in the 

bed of the Cherith, 3 the Prophet first hid himself. To him, as to 

the Prophets of the Jordan valley generally, the leafy covert of 

1 i Kings xviii. 10 (LXX.) 'Jordan,' and the connexion with Elijah, 

2 Ibid. xvii. 15 (Heb.) ; and Menander, point to the east of the river Dr. Robin- 
in Josephus {Ant. viii. 13, § 2). son, however, seeks to identify it with the 

3 The situation of the Cherith is un- Wady Kelt, and Mr. Van de Velde with 
certain. The expression ' before the the Wady Fasael on the west. The 

lbct. xxx. THE DROUGHT. 253 

the forest was no unusual refuge. Thither, we are told, night and 
morning, came the ] ravens that frequented that one green spot, 
1 the young ravens ' of Palestine that cry to God — 'the ravens ' 
whom God feedeth, ' though they neither sow nor reap ' — and 
laid their portion of bread and flesh at break of day, and at fall 
of evening, by the side of the gushing stream j and of the fresh 
waters of that gushing stream he drank, and his life was pre- 

But the drought advanced, and the pools in the watercourse 
were dried up, and the trees withered on its banks, and the 
fowls of the air ceased to flock to their branches ; 
of Zare- w ' and the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, 
phath. , A r j se ^ g et t free to Zarephath, which belongeth to 

1 Zidon.' It was far away that he had to go — beyond the 
borders of the land of Israel, over the hills of Lebanon, down 
into the maritime plain, to the spot whence, in Gentile fables, 
Europa was carried of? to give her name and power to the isles 
of the West. The fresh streams of Lebanon would retain their 
life-giving power after the scantier springs of Palestine had been 
dried up. But there also the drought had reached. We learn 
from heathen records, 2 that the famine was long remembered in 
Phoenicia, and that solemn prayers were offered up in the tem- 
ples of Astarte by Ethbaal, king of Tyre, for the descent of rain 
upon the earth. In the village of Zarephath, overlooking the 
plain and the sea, dwelt a widow of the 3 same race and religion as 
Ethbaal and Jezebel. She had come out of the gate of the town 
to gather sticks, as she thought, for her last meal ; and, as she 
gathered them, she heard the voice of one faint and weary with 
thirst and long travel — ' Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in 
' a vessel, that I may drink.' She saw and turned, and once 
again he asked, ' Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in 
1 thine hand.' 4 It was one of those sudden recognitions of un- 
known kindred souls, one of those cross-purposes of Providence 

account of the latter (Syria and Palestine, * Menander, in Josephus, Ant. viii 

ii. 309) well describes what the Church 13, § 2. 

must have been, wherever it was. ' She says, ' Thy God,' i Kings xvii. 

' For the whole of this subject, see the 12. 
treatise, ' Elias corvorum convictor,' in * Ibid. 9-16. 

Critici Sacri. 

254 THE HOUSE OF OMRL— ELIJAH. lect. xxx. 

which come in with a peculiar charm to chequer the common- 
place course of ecclesiastical history. The Phoenician mother 
knew not what great destinies lay in the hand of that gaunt 
figure at the city gate, worn with travel, and famine, and drought : 
she obeyed only the natural instinct of humanity, she listened 
to his cry, as that of one who suffered as she was suffering, she 
saw in him only at most the Prophet of a hostile tribe. But 
she saved in him the deliverer of herself and her son. There 
was a rebound of unexpected benefits such as sometimes even 
in the prose of common life equals the poetic justice of an ideal 
world. It may be that this incident is the basis of the sacred 
blessing of the Prophet of Prophets on those who, even by a 
cup 'of cold water,' 'receiving a Prophet in the name of a Pro- 
' phet shall receive a Prophet's reward. ' l But He makes a 
more direct comment on the whole story, which brings out 
a loftier and more striking peculiarity : ' There were many 
' widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, but to none of them 
1 was Elijah sent, save to Zarephath, a city of Zidon.' 2 He 
whose life was to be employed in protesting against the false 
worship of Tyre and Zidon was now to have his life preserved 
by one who was herself a slave of that false worship. It seems 
like a foretaste of Gospel times that this one gleam of a gentler 
light should be shed over the beginning of his fierce and stormy 
course ; that we should see the Prophet of Israel and the woman 
of Zidon dwelling peacefully under the same roof, and sharing 
together the last remains of her scanty sustenance ; she giving 
food and shelter to the enemy of her country's gods, and he 
creating and supporting the scanty faith of the good heathen. 
It was a prelude to the scene which, many generations later, 
took place near that very spot, when a Greater than Elijah 
overstepped for once the limits of the Holy Land, and passed 
into the coasts of Tyre and Zidon, and met the Syro-Phcenician 
woman of the same accursed race, and blessed her faith, and 
told her that it should be even as she would. 3 It is a likeness 
of the way in which distress and danger make strange bedfellows, 
bring together those who are most unlike. The horrors of 

' Matt. x. 41, 42. 2 Luke iv. 25, 26. 

* Matt. xv. 22-28 ; Mark vii. 24-30. 

lbct. xxx. THE DROUGHT. 255 

famine, the shadow of the deathbed, are the Divine conciliators 
of the deadliest feuds. In the history of the Church, no less 
than of the individual soul, man's necessity is God's opportunity 
for healing the widest differences. These reconcilements may 
be but for the moment j the iron grasp, which has been forced 
by those sudden efforts, closes again. Yet the grasp becomes 
less tenacious. The end of the golden wedge has made itself 
felt. It was a true feeling of the Jewish Church, if it were not 
a true tradition, which saw in the restoration of the widow's son 
to life a pledge of the future that was to arise out of this double 
act of toleration. In this boy (so later ages delighted 1 to be- 
lieve) was recovered the first Prophet of the Gentile world, 
Jonah, the son of Amittai j repaying, in his mission of mercy 
and pity to the Assyrian Nineveh, the mercy and pity which his 
mother had shown to the Israelite wanderer. 

The drought still advanced. The third year was now ar- 
rived ; and (as usually takes place in Eastern countries, when 
the calamity reaches its highest pitch) the King himself set 
forth with his chief minister, to seek for such patches of vege- 
tation as could be found for the sustenance of the royal stables. 
At last the mysterious Prophet, whom each had desired to see 
for so long, appeared suddenly before them. ' Behold, Elijah ! ' 
was the message which the faithful Obadiah was to take back 
to Ahab — two awful words, which he thrice repeats, before he 
can be induced to return. 2 'Art thou my lord Elijah?' was the 
reverential salute of the minister. ' Art thou the troubler of 
1 Israel?' was the angry question of the King. But it was an 
anger that soon sunk into awe. Face to face at last they met, 
the Prophet and the King. In that hour of extreme despair, 
the voice of Elijah sounded with an authority which it had 
never had before. The drought, we are told, had been threat- 
ened by him. It was then, doubtless, as it still is, the belief of 
Eastern countries, that seers and saints have the power of with- 
holding or giving rain. In the convent of Mount Sinai, the 
Arabs believe that there is a book, by the opening or shutting 
of which the monks can disperse or retain the rain of the penin- 
sula. The persecuting King became a passive instrument in the 

1 Jerome, Pre/, ad yonam. See Lecture XXXIII. ' 1 Kings xvii 8, 11, 14. 

256 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH. lect. xxx. 

hand of the persecuted Prophet. An assembly such as that 
which is described in the Book of l Joel, was summoned to a 
sanctuary, now first mentioned in the Sacred History, though it 
evidently had long existed, and has never since entirely lost its 
The meet- sanct ity- Carmel was the peculiar haunt of Elijah, 
ingon On its Eastern summit, commanding the last view of 

the Mediterranean Sea, and the first view of the 
great plain of Esdraelon, just where the glades of forest — the 
' excellency,' whence it derives its name — sinks into the usual 
bareness of the hills of Manasseh, a rock is still shown bearing 
the name of Maharrakah — 'the sacrifice.' 2 On this rock stood 
an altar of 3 Jehovah, which had, in all probability, been de- 
stroyed in the recent persecution : on this same spot, probably, 
long afterwards, Vespasian sacrificed, when commanding the 
Roman armies in Palestine : and to this the Druzes still come 
in yearly pilgrimage. 4 Close beneath, in an upland plain, round 
a well of perennial 5 water, which, from its shady and elevated 
situation, seems to have escaped the effect of the drought, were 
ranged on the one side the King and people, with the four 
hundred and fifty prophets of Baal dressed in their splendid 6 
vestments ; and on the other side the one solitary figure of the 
Prophet of the Lord, in his rough sheepskin cloak. On its dis- 
tant eminence rose the stately city of Jezreel, with Ahab's pa- 
lace and Jezebel's temple embosomed in its sacred grove. Im- 
mediately beneath, spread far and wide the battle-field of Sacred 
History, the plain of Megiddo or Jezreel ; with the torrent Ki- 
shon, passing, as its name implies, in countless windings, through 
the level valley; that 'ancient stream,' on whose banks had 
perished the host of Sisera, and the host of Midian, before the 
Army of Deborah and Barak, before the sword of the Lord and 
of Gideon. In such a scene, with such recollections of the past, 

1 Joel iii. 2, 14. * Josephus {Ant. viii. 13, § 5). 

" ' You have done well,' said his native 5 That it is perennial is proved by the 

attendants to an English traveller (Colonel discovery of the Neritina Michorii—a. 

Fraser), who had killed a wild boar on this freshwater shell peculiarly sensitive to the 

spot, 'He has been fitly sacrificed on the removal of water — here alone in this 

' Place of Sacrifice.' neighbourhood (Williams, Dublin Lee- 

3 1 Kings xvili. 30. ' He repaired the tures, 1868, p. 29). 
' altar of Jehovah which had been broken ■ Compare 2 Kings x. aa, 

' down,' 

lect. xxx. THE DROUGHT. 25/ 

were the people of Israel gathered for a conflict no less mo- 

It was the early morning. There was a deep silence over 
the whole multitude, when the Prophet made his appeal to 
them. 'They answered him not a word.' 

Every incident that follows, well known through the Sacred 
music into which it has been woven, enhances the contrast 
between the True and the False, in this grand ordeal. On the 
one side is the exact picture of Oriental fanaticism, such as 
may still be seen in Eastern religions. As the Mussulman 
Dervishes work themselves into a frenzy by the invocation of 
1 Allah ! Allah ! ' until the words themselves are lost in in- 
articulate gasps ; as Eastern Christians will recite the ' Kyrie 
1 eleison,' the ' Gospidi Pomilou,' in a hundredfold repetition ; 
as the pilgrims round the Church of S. John at Samaria for- 
merly, and round the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre now, race, 
and run, and tumble, in order to bring down the Divine Fire 
into the midst of l them — so the four hundred and fifty prophets 
of Baal (for the prophets of Ashtaroth seem to have shrunk 
from the contest) performed their wild dances round their altar, 
or upon it, springing up, or sinking down, with the fantastic 
gestures which Orientals alone can command, as if by an in- 
ternal mechanism, and screaming with that sustained energy 
which believes that it will be heard from its much speaking — 
from morn till noon, * Hear us, O Baal, hear us!' A larger 
spirit of Christian insight, or Christian compassion, either per- 
ceives under these desperate forms of superstition some ele- 
ments of a nobler faith, or else is oppressed, even to tears of 
pity, by the thought of this dark abyss of human corruption. 
But there is a ludicrous side, on which, in this instance, the 
Biblical narrative fixes our attention, in one of those bursts of 
laughter, which* form rare exceptions in the Hebrew annals, 
and which when they do occur need special notice. There is, 
Elijah's f° r tne moment, a savage humour, a biting sarcasm, 
irony. j n t ^ e tone f Elijah which forms an exception alike 

to the general humanity of the New Testament and the general 
seriousness of the Old. He had already, in addressing the 

1 Sinai and Palestine, Chap. XIV. 
II. S 

258 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH. lect. xxx. 

assembled people, placed before them in one sharp truculent 
question the likeness — it might almost be said the caricature — 
of their stumbling, hesitating gait : ' How long are you to halt 
' and totter, 1 first on one knee, and then on the other? If 
1 Jehovah be your God, walk straight after Him ; if Baal, walk 
1 straight after him ! ' It was the very action and gesture, re- 
presented in the grotesque dances, 2 first on one foot and then on 
another, round the Pagan altars. And now the ridicule grows 
keener and stronger. It is noon, when gods and men under 
that burning sun may be thought to have withdrawn to rest. 
And ' Elijah the Tishbite ' 3 (so he is described in his full human 
personality) cannot restrain himself, and cheers them on — ' Cry 

• with a loud voice, louder and louder yet, for he is a god ; for 

* he has his head full, and is too busy to hear your prayer ; or 
1 perchance he has his 4 stomach full, and has gone aside into 
' retirement ; or perchance in the heat of the day he is asleep, 
' and must be awakened.' The prophets of Baal took Elijah 
at his word. Like the Dervishes, who eat glass, seize living 
snakes with their teeth, throw themselves prostrate for their 
mounted chief to ride over them ; like the Corybantian priests 
of Cybele ; like the Fakirs of India ; they now, in their frenzied 
state, tossed to and fro the swords and lances which formed 
part of their fantastic worship, and gashed themselves and each 
other, till they were smeared with blood ; and mingled with their 
loud yells to the silent and sleeping Divinity those ravings which 
formed the dark side of ancient prophecy. The midday heat 
is now passed ; the altar still remains untouched ; even fraud, 
if there were fraud, has been unsuccessful. 5 And now comes 
the contrast of the calmness and tranquillity of the true Prophet. 
Elijah bade the hostile prophets 6 stand aloof, and called the 
people round him. He was standing amidst the ruins of the 
ancient altar. With his own hands he gathered twelve stones 

1 1 Kings xviii. 21 (Heb. and LXX.) the passage.) 

See Ewald, iii. 492. s An old tradition maintained that a 

2 Ibid. 26 (Heb.) See Thenius. man put inside the altar to kindle the fire 

3 Ibid. 27 (LXX.) died of the suffocation. Ephrem. Syr. 
' So may be kept up the play on the Comm. ad loc. ; Chrysostom, in Petrutn 

curious words sig and stack (ver. 27), un- Apost. et Eliam Proph. i. 765. 
translatable into English. (See Thenius on * 1 Kings xviii. 30 (LXX.). 

lbct. xxx. THE DROUGHT. 259 

from its fragments. The sacred character of the northern king- 
dom, as representing the twelve tribes of ' Israel,' the ancient 
Patriarchal Israel, was not forgotten. These twelve sacred 
blocks were piled up ; the sacrifice duly prepared ; the water 
brought from the adjacent well. And then as the hour of the 
evening sacrifice drew near, and as the sun began to descend 
towards the western sea, with no frantic gesticulation or vain 
reiteration, he sent up into the evening ! heaven four short cries 
to the God of his fathers : — { Jehovah, the God of Abraham, 
1 Isaac, and Jacob, hear me : 

'Jehovah : hear me this day in fire, and let all people 
Elijah's ' know that Thou art Jehovah, the God of this Israel, 
prayer . < an( j / am Thy servant, and through Thee I have 
1 done all these things. 

■ Hear me, O Jehovah : 

1 Hear me, and let this people know that Thou, Jehovah, art 
* the God, and that Thou hast turned their hearts back again.' 2 

On the open mountain top (this is the effect of the Sacred 
narrative), and to the few words needing not more than a few 
seconds to utter, the answer came which had been denied to 
the vast concourse of prophets, to their many hours of eager 
application and self-inflicted torture. It was the difference 
between the vain and unmeaning superstition of fanatics, 
1 which availeth nothing,' and the effectual fervent prayer 
of 3 'one righteous man, which availeth much.' ' Then fell fire 
from Jehovah from heaven.' 4 

There is an exultant triumph in the words in which the 
sacred historian describes the completeness of the conrlagra- 
The sacri- ti° n - The fragments of the ox on the summit of the 
fice - altar first disappear ; then, the pile of wood, heaped 

from the forest of Carmel ; next, the very stones of the altar 
crumble in the flames ; then, the dust of the earth that had 
been thrown out of the trench ; and lastly, the water in the 
deep trench round the altar is licked up by the fiery tongues, 
and leaves the whole place bare. The altar itself had been an 
emblem ' of the tribes of the sons of Israel.' Its envelopment 

1 ai-f/3orj<r«f tU r'ov oxipavov, i Kings xvii. 36 (LXX.). 3 1 Kings xviii. 37 (LXX.). 
1 James v. 16. * 1 Kings xviii. 38 (LXX.). 

S 2 

26o THE HOUSE OF OMRI. — ELIJAH. lect. xxx. 

in this celestial fire was an emblem no less of the reconstruction 
of the kingdom— a token that ' the God of Israel had turned 
' their heart back again.' So for the moment it seemed. 
' Jehovah, he is God ! Jehovah, he is God ! ' was the uni- 
versal cry ; as if, turning (by a slight inversion) the name of 
the Prophet himself into a war-cry, ' Eli-Jah-hu ' — ' My God, 
' He is Jehovah.'' Before him the whole multitude lay prostrate 
on the mountain- side. He was now the ruler of the nation. 
His word was law. In that sudden revulsion of feeling 'the 
1 wheel had come full cycle round.' The persecutors became 
the victims. The prophets of Baal were seized ; they were 
The swept away by the wild multitude. Elijah himself led 

Massacre, them down the mountain slopes to the gorge of the 
Kishon. As Phinehas, as Samuel, before him, so Elijah now 
took upon himself the dreadful office of executioner. Sword l 
in hand he stood over the unresisting prophets, and in one swift 
and terrible slaughter they fell by the sacred stream. 2 The name 
of the ' Hill of the Priests ' possibly commemorates their end. 

On the peaceful top of the mountain the sacrificial feast was 
spread, and to this, at Elijah's bidding, the King went up ; for 
already in the Prophet's inward ear there was ' the 
1 sound of the tread of rain.' 3 At 'the top of the 
' mountain,' but on a lower 4 declivity, Elijah bent himself 
down, with his head in the Oriental attitude of entire abstrac- 
tion, placed between his knees ; whilst his attendant boy 
mounted to the highest point of all, whence, over the western 
ridge there is a wide view of the blue waters of the Mediterra- 
nean Sea. The sun must have been now gone down. But the 
cloudless sky would be lit up by the long white glow which 
succeeds an Eastern sunset. Seven times the youthful watcher 
ascended and looked; and seven times 'there was nothing.' 
The sky was still clear ; the sea was still calm. At last out of 
the far horizon there rose a little cloud, the first that for days 
and months had passed across the heavens : and it grew in the 
deepening shades of evening, and quickly the whole sky was 

1 i Kings xviii. 40, xix. 1. 3 1 Kings xviii. 41 (LXX.). 

' For the general principle of this act, * This appears from the words ' go up,' 

see Lecture XI. in xviii. 43, 44. 

lect. xxx. THE STORM. 26 1 

overcast, and the forests of Carmel shook in the welcome sound 
of those mighty winds which in Eastern regions precede a 
coming tempest. Each from his separate height, the King and 
the Prophet descended. The cry of the boy from his moun- 
tain ' watch had hardly been uttered when the storm broke 
upon the plain ; and the torrent of Kishon began to swell. The 
King had not a moment to lose lest he should be unable to 
reach Jezreel. He mounted his chariot at the foot of the hill. 
And Elijah was touched as by a supporting hand : and he 
snatched up his streaming mantle and twisted it round his loins, 
and, amidst the rushing storm with which the night closed in, 
he outstripped even the speed of the royal horses, and 'ran 
1 before the chariot ' — as the Bedouins of his native Gilead 
would still run, with inexhaustible strength — to the entrance of 
Jezreel, distant, though visible, from the scene of his triumph. 

The story of Elijah, like the story of Athanasius, is full of 
sudden reverses. The prophets of Baal were destroyed ; Ahab 
was cowed. But the ruling spirit of the hierarchy and of the 
kingdom remained undaunted : Jezebel was not dismayed. 
With one of those tremendous vows which mark the history of 
the Semitic race, both within and without the Jewish pale — the 
vow of Jephthah, the vow of Saul, the vow of Hannibal — she 
sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ' As surely as thou art 
' Elijah, and I am Jezebel, so may God do to me, and more 
* also, if I make not thy life to-morrow, about this time, as the 
' life of one of them.' 2 

The Prophet who had confronted Ahab and the national 
assembly trembled 3 before the implacable Queen. It was the 
crisis of his life. One only out of that. vast multitude remained 
faithful to him — the Zidonian boy of Zarephath, as Jewish 
tradition believed, the future Jonah. With this child as his 
sole companion, he left the border of Israel, and entered — so 
far as we know for the first and only time — the frontier of the 
Flight to Tlv3 ^ kingdom. But he halted not there. Only an 
Horeb. apocryphal tradition points out the mark of his 
sleeping form, on a rock half-way between Jerusalem and 

1 1 Kings xviii. 44 (Heb.). See Thenius. 2 1 Kingt xix. a (LXX.). 

3 Jbid. 3 (LXX.). 

262 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH. lec*. xi. 

Bethlehem.' 1 He reached the limit of the Holy Land. At 
Beersheba 2 he left his attendant youth, and thence plunged 
into the desert. Under a solitary 3 flowering broom of the desert, 
he lay down to die. ' It is enough ; now, O Jehovah, take 
* away my life ; for /am not better than my fathers.' It is the 
desponding cry of many a gallant spirit, in the day of dis- 
appointment and desertion. But, once and again, an unknown 
messenger, 4 or an angelic visitant, gave him sustenance and 
comfort ; and ' in the strength of that meat he went forty days 
1 and forty nights ' across the platform of the Sinaitic desert 
till 'he came to the mount of God, to Horeb.' It is the only 
time, since the days of Moses, that the course of the Sacred 
History brings us back to those sacred solitudes. Of pilgrims, 
if any there were, to those early haunts of Israel, Elijah's name 
alone has come down to us. In * the cave' (so it is called, 
whether from its being the usual resort, or from the fame of this 
single visit) — in the cave, well known then, though uncertain 
now, Elijah passed the night. 5 There is nothing to confirm, 
but there is nothing to contradict, the belief that it may have 
been in that secluded basin, which has been long pointed out 
as the spot, beneath the summit of what is called ' The Mount 
1 of Moses.' One tall cypress stands in the centre of the little 
upland plain. A ruined chapel covers the rock on which 
the Prophet is believed to have rested, on the slope of the 
hill. A well and tank, ascribed to him, are on the other 
side of the basin. The granite rocks enclose it on every 
side, as though it were a natural sanctuary. No scene could 
be more suitable for the vision which follows. It was, 
if not the first Prophetic call to Elijah, the first Prophetic 
manifestation to him of the Divine Will and the Divine Nature. 
It was a marked crisis not only in his own life, but in the his- 
tory of the whole Prophetic Dispensation. 

He is drawn out by the warning, like that which came to 

1 See Elijah, in Diet, of the Bible, i. Heb.). 
528, note. * 1 Kings xix. 5, 7 ; Heb. maleac, a 

a The addition ' which belongeth to messenger, and hence an angel ; LXX. 

1 Judah ' seems almost to indicate that the ti's. 
narrative is from an Israelite historian. 5 1 Kings xix. 9 (Heb.). See Ewald. 

s ' One retem tree ' (1 Kings xix. 4, 5, 

lect. xxx. THE VISION OF HOREB. 263 

Moses on the same spot, and stands on the mountain-side- 
visionof expecting the signs of the Divine Presence. He 
Horeb. listened ; and there came the sound of a rushing 
hurricane, which burst through the mountain wall and rolled 
down the granite rocks in massive fragments round him. ' But 
' Jehovah was not in the wind.' He stood firm on his feet, 
expecting it again ; and under his feet the solid mountain 
shook, with the shock of a mighty earthquake. ' But Jehovah 
1 was not in the earthquake.' He looked out on the hills as they 
rose before him in the darkness of the night ; and they flamed 
with flashes of fire, as in the days of Moses. ' But Jehovah 
1 was not in the fire.' And then, in the deep stillness of the 
desert air — unbroken by falling stream, or note of bird, or 
tramp of beast, or cry of man — came the whisper, of a voice as 
of a gentle l breath — of a voice so small that it was almost like 
silence. Then he knew that the moment was come. He drew, 
as was his wont, his rough mantle over his head ; he wrapt his 
face in its ample folds ; he came out from the sheltering reck, 
and stood beneath the cave to receive the Divine communica- 

They blended with the vision : one cannot be understood 
without the other. They both alike contain the special message 
to Elijah, and the universal message to the Universal Church. 
Each is marked and explained by the Divine question and the 
human answer, twice repeated : ' What doest thou here, Elijah : 
' thou, the Prophet of Israel, here in the deserts of Arabia ? ' — 
1 I have been very jealous for Jehovah, the God of hosts : 
1 because the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, 
1 thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy Prophets with the 
1 sword ; and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life to 
1 take it away.' He thinks that the best boon that he can ask 
is that his life should be taken away. It is a failure, a mistake : 
he is not better than his fathers. Such is the complaint of 
Elijah, which carries with it the complaint of many a devout 
heart and gifted mind, when the world has turned against 
them, when their words and deeds have been misinterpreted, 
when tkey have struggled in vain against the wickedness 

' 1 Kings xix. 12 (LXX.). 

264 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH, lect. xxx. 

the folly, the stupidity of mankind. But the answer to them 
is contained in the blessing on independence. It is the 
blessing on Athanasius against the world ; it is the en^ 
couragement to the angel Abdiel — 'Amongst the faithless, 
' faithful only he.' Resistance to evil, even in the desert soli- 
tude, is a new starting-point of life. He has still a task before 
him. ' Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus.' 
He is to go on through good report and evil ; though his own 
heart fail him, and hundreds fall away. When he comes, he is 
to anoint Gentile and Hebrew, King and Prophet. His work 
is not over j it has just begun. In the three names, Hazael, 
Jehu, Elisha, is contained the history of the next generation of 

But the vision reaches beyond his own immediate horizon. 
It discloses to him the true relations of a Prophet to the 
world and to the Church. The Queen with fire and sword, 
the splendid temples of Jezreel and Samaria, the whole nation 
gone astray after her, seemed to be on one side ; and the soli- 
tary Prophet, in the solitary wilderness, on the other side. So 
it seemed ; but so it was not. The wind, the earthquake, and 
the fire might pass over him. But God was not in them: Nor 
was He in the power and grandeur of the State or Church of 
Israel. Deep down in the heart of the nation, in the caves of 
Carmel, unknown to Elijah, unknown to each other, are seven 
thousand, who had not, by word or deed, acknowledged the 
power of Baal. In them God was still present. In them was 
the first announcement of the doctrine, often repeated by later 
Prophets, of an f Israel within Israel,' — of a 1 remnant of good 
which embraced the true hope of the future. It is the pro- 
found Evangelical truth, then first beginning to dawn upon the 
earth, that there is a distinction between the nation and the 
individual, between the outward divisions of sects or churches, 
and the inward divisions which run across them ; good in the 
midst of evil, truth in the midst of error, internal invisible agree- 
ment amidst external visible dissension. 

It is further a revelation to Elijah, not only concerning 
himself and the world, but concerning God also. He himself 

• See Lecture XXXVIII. 

lect. xxx. THE VISION OF HOREB. 265 

had shared in the outward manifestations of Divine favour which 
appear to mark the Old Dispensation — the fire on Carmel, the 
storm from the Mediterranean, the avenging sword on the banks 
of the Kishon. These signs had failed j and he was now told 
that in these signs, in the highest sense, God was not ; not in 
these, but in the still small gentle whisper of conscience and 
solitude was the surest token that God was near to him. Nay, 
not in his own mission, grand and gigantic as it was, would 
after-ages so clearly discern the Divine Inspiration, as in the 
still small voice of justice and truth that breathed through the 
writings of the later Prophets, for whom he only prepared the 
way — Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah. Not in the 
vengeance which through Hazael and Jehu was to sweep away 
the House of Omri, so much as in the discerning Love which 
was to spare the seven thousand ; not in the strong east wind 
that parted the Red Sea, or the fire that swept the top of Sinai, 
or the earthquake that shook down the walls of Jericho, would 
God be brought so near to man, as in the still small voice of the 
child of Bethlehem, as in the ministrations of Him whose cry 
was not heard in the streets, in the awful stillness of the Cross, 
in the never-failing order of Providence, in the silent insensible 
influence of the good deeds and good words of God and of 
man. This is the predictive element of Elijah's prophecies. 
The history of the Church had made a vast stride since the 
days of Moses. Here we see, in an irresistible form, the true 
unity of the Bible. The Sacred narrative rises above itself to 
a world hidden as yet from the view of those to whom the 
vision was revealed, and by whom it was recorded. There is 
already a Gospel of Elijah. He, the furthest removed of all 
the Prophets from the Evangelical spirit and character, has yet 
enshrined in the heart of his story the most forcible of protests 
against the hardness of Judaism, the noblest anticipation of the 
breadth and depth of Christianity. 

From this the culminating point of Elijah's life, we are 
carried abruptly to tho renewal of his personal history and his 
relations with Ahab. 

It is characteristic of the Sacred History that the final doom 
of the dynasty of Omri should be called forth, not by its idolatry, 

266 THE HOUSE OF OMRI. - ELIJAH. lect. xxx. 

not by its persecution of the Prophets, but by an act of injustice 
to an individual, a private citizen. 

On the eastern l slope of the hill of Jezreel, immediately 
outside the walls, was a smooth plot of ground, which Ahab, 
Naboth's m ms desire for the improvement of his favourite 
vineyard. residence, wished to turn into a garden 2 of herbs or 
flowers. But it belonged to Naboth, a Jezreelite of 3 distin- 
guished birth, who sturdily refused, perhaps with something of 
a religious scruple, to part with it for any price or equivalent : 
' Jehovah forbid that I should give to thee the inheritance of 
1 my fathers.' The rights of an Israelite landowner were not to 
be despised. The land had descended to Naboth, possibly, 
from the first partition of the tribes. Omri, the father of Ahab, 
had given a great price for the hill of Samaria to its ownei 
Shemer. David would not take the threshing-floor on Moriah, 
even from the heathen Araunah, without a payment. The re- 
fusal brought on a peculiar mood of sadness, 4 described on two 
occasions in Ahab and in no one else. But in his palace there 
was one who cared nothing for the scruples which tormented 
the conscience even of the worst of the Kings of Israel. In 
the pride of her conscious superiority to the weaknesses of her 
husband, ' Jezebel came to him and said, Dost thou now 5 
1 govern the kingdom of Israel ? Arise, and eat bread, and let 
' thine heart be merry : / will give thee the vineyard of Naboth 
1 the Jezreelite.' It is the same contrast — true to nature — that 
we know so well in yEgisthus and Clytemnestra, in Macbeth 
and Lady Macbeth, where the feebler resolution of the man 
has been urged to the last crime by the bolder and more re- 
lentless spirit of the woman. She wrote the warrant in Ahab's 
name ; she gave the hint to the chiefs and nobles of the city. 
An assembly was called, at the 6 head of which Naboth, by 
virtue of his high position, was placed. There, against him, as 

1 Its situation is fixed by 2 Kings ix. 3 Josepbus, Ant. viii. 13, § 8. 

30-36, compared with 1 Kings xxi. 1, 19, * ' Heavy and displeased,' 1 Kings xx. 

23. The LXX. version of 1 Kings xxi. 1 43, xxi. 4. 
(in both Vat. and A!ex. MSS.) changes s notei? /ScuriAe'a (LXX.). 

' Jezreelite ' into 'Israelite,' 'palace' into 6 This (according to Josephus, Ant. 

' threshing-floor,' and omits the words viii. 13, § 8) is the explanation of Naboth 

' which was in Jezreel.' ' was set on high.' 

■ As distinct from a park of trees. 

Liter, xxx. NABOTH'S VINEYARD. 267 

he so stood, the charge of treason was brought according to the 
forms of the Jewish law. The two or three ' necessary witnesses 
were produced, and sat before him. The sentence was pro- 
nounced. The whole family were involved in the ruin. Naboth 
and his sons, in the darkness of the 2 night, were dragged out 
from the city. According to one 3 account, the capital was the 
scene ; and in the usual place of execution at Samaria, by the 
side of the great tank or pool (here as at 4 Hebron), Naboth 
and his sons were stoned ; and the blood from their mangled 
remains ran down into the reservoir, and was licked up on the 
broad margin of stone by the ravenous dogs which infest an 
Eastern capital, and by the herds of 5 swine which were not 
allowed to enter the Jewish city. ' Then they sent to Jezebel 
' saying, Naboth is stoned and is dead.' And she repeated to 
Ahab all that he cared to hear : ' Naboth is not alive, but is 
' dead.' The narrative wavers in its account of his reception 
of the tidings. The more detailed version of the Septuagint 
tells us that, immediately, the pang of remorse shot through 
his heart. 'When he heard that Naboth was dead, he rent 
' his clothes and put on sackcloth.' But this was for the first 
moment only. From the capital of Samaria, as it would seem, 
he rose up, and went down the steep descent which leads into 
the plain of Jezreel. He went in state, in his royal chariot. 
Behind him, probably in the same 6 chariot, were two of the 
great officers of his court ; Bidkar, and one whose name after- 
wards bore a dreadful sound to the House of Ahab — Jehu, the 
son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. And now they neared 
the city of Jezreel j and now the green terraces appeared, which 
Ahab at last might call his own, with no obstinate owner to urge 
against him the claims of law and of property ; and there was 

1 Deut. xvii. 6, xix. 15. Josephus says was in his own city of Jezreel that the 

there were three witnesses ; the Hebrew trial took place, and the execution was by 

and LXX. two. the spring of Jezreel. See Lectures XV. 

* This is to be inferred from the word and XXI. 

emech, ' yesternight,' used in 2 Kings ix. ' So Josephus, Ant. ix. 6, § 3, 

26. See Diet, of the Bible, i. 529, note. Ka6e£oiJ.ii>ov<;, 2 Kings ix. 25, tsemadim, 

* 1 Kings xxi. 18 (LXX.). as a 'yoke' of animals. The LXX. 

* 2 Sam. iv. 12. makes them in separate chariot*, ini ra 

* 1 Kings xxii. 38 (LXX.), compared £«vy7j. 
with xxi. 19. According to Josephus, it 

268 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH. lect. xx*. 

the fatal vineyard, the vacant plot of ground waiting for its new 
The curse possessor. There is a solitary figure standing on the 
onAhab. deserted ground as though the dead Naboth had 
risen from his bloody grave to warn off the King from his un- 
lawful gains. It is Elijah. As in the most pathetic of Grecian 
dramas, the unjust has no sooner been pronounced on 
the unfortunate Antigone, than Tiresias rises up to pronounce 
the curse on the Theban king, so, in this grander than any 
Grecian tragedy, the well-known Prophet is there to utter the 
doom of the House of Ahab. He comes, we know not whence. 
He has arisen ; he has come down at the word of the Lord to 
meet the King, as once before in this second crisis of his life. 
Few and short were the words which fell from those awful lips ; 
and they are variously reported. But they must have fallen 
like thunderbolts on that royal company. They were never 
forgotten. Years afterwards, long after Ahab and Elijah had 
gone to their account, two of that same group found themselves 
once again on that same spot ; and a king, the son of Ahab, 
lay dead at their feet : and Jehu turned to Bidkar and said, 
' Remember how that thou and I rode behind Ahab his father, 
1 when the Lord laid this burden upon him. Surely yesternight 
1 I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, saith 
1 Jehovah, and I will requite thee in this plat, saith Jehovah.' l 
And not only on that plat, but wherever the House of Ahab 
should be found, and 2 wherever the blood of Naboth had left 
its traces, the decree of vengeance was pronounced ; the horizon 
was darkened with the visions of vultures glutting on the carcases 
of the dead, and the packs of savage dogs feeding on their re- 
mains, or lapping up their blood. — All these threats the youthful 
soldier heard, unconscious that he was to be their terrible exe- 
cutioner. But it was on Ahab himself that the curse fell with 
the heaviest weight. He burst at once into the familiar cry, 
' Hast thou found me, O mine enemy ? ' The Prophet and the 
King parted, to meet no more. But the King's last act was an 
act of penitence : on every 3 anniversary of Naboth's death he 
--vore the Eastern signs of mourning. And the Prophet's words 

1 5 Kings xi. 26. ' 3 Ibid. xx. 27 (LXX.) « Went softly 

2 1 Kings xxi. 19 (LXX.). is probably ' went barefoot ' (Josephus). 

lect. xxx. THE DEATH OF AHAB. 269 

were words of mercy. It was as if the revelation of ' the still 
* small voice ' was becoming clearer and clearer. For in the 
heart of Ahab there was a sense of better things, and that 
sense is recognised and blessed. 

It was three years afterwards that the first part of Elijah's 
curse, in its modified form, fell on the royal house. The scene 
is given at length, apparently to bring before us the graduai 
working-out of the catastrophe. The Syrian war, which forms 
the background of the whole of the history of Omri's dynasty, 
The attack mrn i snes ^ ie occasion. To recover the fortress of 
on Ramoth- Ramoth-Gilead is the object of the battle. The 
Kings of Judah and Israel are united for the grand 
effort. The alliance is confirmed by the marriage of Athaliah, 
the daughter of Ahab, with Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat. 1 
The names of the two royal families are intermixed for the first 
time since the separation of the kingdoms. Jehoshaphat comes 
down in state to Samaria. A grand sacrificial feast for him 
and his 2 suite is prepared. The two kings — an unprecedented 
sight — sit side by side, each on his throne, in full 3 pomp, in 
the wide open space before the gateway of Samaria. Once 
again, though in a less striking form, is repeated the conflict 
between the true and false prophesyings, as at Carmel. Four 
hundred prophets of Baal, yet evidently professing the worship 
of Jehovah, and Israelites, not foreigners — all, in one mystic 
chorus, urged the war. One only exception was heard to the 
general acclamation ; not Elijah, but one who, according to 
5 Jewish tradition, had once before foretold the fall of Ahab — 
The vision Micaiah, the son of Imlah. In the vision which he 
of Micaiah. describes, we feel that we are gradually drawing nearer 
to the times of the later Prophets. It is a vision which might 
rank amongst those of Isaiah, or of Ezekiel. On earth, the 
Prophet sees the tribes of Israel, scattered on the hills of 
Gilead, like sheep who have lost their shepherd ; and he hears 

1 2 Kings viii. 18, 26. 12). Possibly the 400 prophets of Ashta- 

* 2 Chr. xviii. 2. roth (' the groves ') who escaped destruc- 
3 1 Kings xxii. 10 ; 2 Chron. xviii. 9 tion at Carmel. Compare 1 Kings xviii. 

(LXX. and Ewald). 19 with 22. 

* See the name Zedekiah, 'justice of & 1 Kings xx. 35, 42, with the com- 
' Jehovah' Cver. n), and the constant ment of Josephus, Ant. viii. 14, § 5. 
mention of the name of Jehovah (5, 6, 11, 

270 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELIJAH, lect. hex, 

a voice bidding them return each to their own homes, as best 
they can : for their human leader is gone — they have no help 
but in God. l Above, he sees the God of Israel on His throne, 
as the kings on their thrones before the gate of Samaria. His 
host, as theirs, is all around Him. There is a glimpse into the 
truth, so difficult of conception in early ages, that even the 
Almighty works by secondary agents. Not by Himself, but by 
one or other of His innumerable host ; not by these indis- 
criminately, but by one, to whom is given the name of 2 ' The 
1 Spirit.' Not by any sudden stroke of vengeance, but by the 
very network of evil council which he has woven for himself, 
is the King of Israel to be led to his ruin. The imagery of 
the vision of Micaiah is the first germ of the Prologue of Job, 
and conveys the same exalted glance into the unseen guidance 
of good and evil, by the same overruling Hand. In contrast 
with this one sublime Prophet is the vulgar advocate of the 
popular view of the moment, Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah. 
He also is the first of a type that we meet frequently after- 
wards, — one filled with the spirit of false prophecy, not from 
any false doctrine, but from narrow or interested motives, 
leaning on the feeblest auguries, the most accidental tokens. 
According to a Josephus, he relied on Elijah's prediction that 
Ahab's blood should be shed on the spot which had received 
the blood of Naboth, and that therefore he could not fall in 
battle. His imagery, too, was like that which prevailed among 
the later prophets — a parable, not of words, but of action. He 
took horns of iron, with which, as with the horns of the wild 
bull of Ephraim, 4 he would push the enemies of Ephraim to 
the ends of the earth. He struck Micaiah on the face, with 
the challenge, 5 according to Jewish tradition, to wither his 
hand, as that of Jeroboam had withered at the command of 

In the battle that follows under the walls of Ramoth-Gilead, 6 
everything centres on this foredoomed destruction of Ahab. 
All his precautions are baffled. Early in the day, an arrow, 

1 i Kings xxii. 17 (LXX.). 5 Joseph. Ant viii. 15, § 5. 

2 2 Chr. xviii. 20 (Heb.). s This is implied in 1 Kings xxii. 20, 29, 
9 Ant. viii. 15, § 4. but is stated distinctly in Josephus, Ant. 
* Deut. xxxiii. 17. viii. 15, § 6. 

UCT. xxx. THE DEATH OF AHAB. 27 1 

which later tradition ascribed to the hand of Naaman, pierced 
the King's breastplate. He felt it his death-wound j but with 
a nobler spirit than had appeared in his life, he would not have 
it disclosed, lest the army should be discouraged. The tide of 
battle rose ! higher and higher till nightfall. The Syrian army 
retired to the fortress. 2 Then, and not till then, as the sun 
went down, did the herald of the army proclaim : ■ Every man 
to his city, and every man to his country, for the King is 

The long-expected event had indeed arrived. The King, 
who had stood 4 erect in the chariot till that moment, sank 
down dead. His body was carried home to the royal burial- 
place in Samaria. But the manner of his end left its traces in 
a form not to be mistaken. The blood which all through that 
day had been flowing from his wound, had covered both the 
armour in which he was dressed and the chariot in which he 
had stood for so many hours. The chariot (perhaps the 
armour) was washed in state — according to 5 one version in 
the tank of Samaria, according to 6 another in the spring of 
Jezreel. The bystanders remembered that the blood, shed as 
it had been on the distant battle-field, streamed into the same 
waters which had been polluted by the blood of Naboth and 
his sons, and was lapped up from the margin by the same dogs 
and swine, still prowling round the spot ; and that when the 
abandoned 7 outcasts of the city — probably those who had 
assisted in the profligate rites of the Temple of Ashtaroth — 
came, according to their shameless usage, for their morning 8 
bath in the pool, they found it red with the blood of the first 
apostate King of Israel. 

So were accomplished the warnings of Elijah and Micaiah. 
So ended what may be called the first part of the tragedy of 
the House of Omri. 

1 Kings xxii. 35 (Heb.). ' 1 Kings xxii. 38 (Heb. and LXX.). 

Joseph. Ant. viii. 15, § 6. Joseph. Ant. viii. 15, § 6. ' The harlots 

1 Kings xxii. 36 (LXX.). ' washed themselves ' (or washed the 

Ibid. 35 (LXX.). chariot), for 'they washed the armour.' 

1 Kings xxii. 38 (Heb. and LXX.). See Keil and Thenius. 
Joseph. Ant. viii. 15, § 6. ■ ' Ywb rt\v iw. Procopius, ad loc. 

272 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELISHA. user. xxxi. 



With the fall of Ahab a series of new characters appears on 
the eventful scene. Elijah still remained for a time, but only 
to make way for successors. In the meeting of the four hun- 
dred Prophets at Samaria, he was not present. In the reign of 
Ahaziah and of Jehoram, he appears but for a moment. There 
was a letter, the only written prophecy ascribed to him, and the 
only link which connected him with the history of Judah, 
addressed to the young Prince who reigned with his father 
Last a P - Jehoshaphat ! at Jerusalem. There was a sudden 
EiijThon^ apparition of a strange being, on the heights of 
Carmei. Carmel, to the messengers whom Ahaziah had sent to 
consult an oracle in Philistia. 2 They were passing, probably, 
along the 'haunted strand,' between the sea and the mountain. 
They heard the warning voice. They returned to their 
master. The description could apply only to one man : it 
must be the wild Prophet of the desert whom he had heard 
described by his father and grandfather. Troop after troop 
was sent to arrest the enemy of the royal house, to seize the 
lion in his den. On the top of Carmel they saw the solitary 
form. But he was not to be taken by human force ; stroke 
after stroke of celestial fire was to destroy the armed bands, 
before he descended from the rocky height, and delivered his 
message to the dying king. It was to this act, some centuries 
afterwards, not far from the same spot, that the two ardent 
youths appealed, and provoked that Divine rebuke which 

' This is a possible explanation of the Comp. 2 Kings i. 17, viii. 16 
letter to Jehoram, 2 Chron. xxi. 12-15. 3 2 Kings i. 3-17. 

user. xxxi. TRANSLATION OF ELIJAH. 2? 3 

places the whole career of Elijah in its fitting place, 1 as some- 
thing in its own nature transitory, precursive, preparatory. 

Another was now to take his place. The time was come 

when 'the Lord would take Elijah into heaven by a tempest.' 

Those long wanderings were now over. No more was 

The ascen- ° ° 

sion of that awful figure to be seen on Carmel, nor that stern 
voice heard in Jezreel. For the last time he sur- 
veyed, from the heights of the western Gilgal, 2 the whole scene 
of his former career — the Mediterranean Sea, Carmel, and the 
distant hills of Gilead — and went the round of the consecrated 
haunts of Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho. 3 One faithful disciple was 
with him — the son of Shaphat, whom he had first called on his 
way from Sinai to Damascus, and who, after the manner of 
Eastern attendants, stood by him to pour water over his hands 
in his daily ablutions. With that tenderness which is some- 
times blended with the most rugged natures, at each successive 
halt the older Prophet turned to his youthful companion, and 
entreated him to stay: ' Tarry here, I pray thee ; for the Lord 
1 hath sent me to Bethel ... to Jericho ... to Jordan.' 
But in each case Elisha replied with an asseveration, and 
expressed his undivided and unshaken trust in his master and 
in his master's God : ' As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul 
' liveth, I will not leave thee.' At Bethel, and at Jericho, the 
students in the schools that had gathered round those sacred 
spots, came out with the sad presentiment that for the last time 
they were to see the revered instructor who had given new 
light to their studies ; and they too turned to their fellow- 
disciple : ' Knowest thou not that the Lord will take away thy 
1 master from thy head to-day ? ' And to every such remon- 
strance he replied with emphasis, ' Yea, / know it ; hold ye 
1 your peace.' No dread of that final parting could deter him 
from the mournful joy of seeing with his own eyes the last 
moments, of hearing with his own ears the last words, of the 
Prophet of God. 'And they two went on.' They went on 
alone. They descended the long weary slopes that lead from 

1 See Lectuie XXX. and Robinson, Bib. Res. ii. 265.) 

1 Gilgal here is possibly the modern 3 2 Kings ii. 1-5. 

Mjilia, near Seilun. (See Thenius ad loc. 
II. T 

274 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELISHA. lkct. xxxi. 

Jericho to the Jordan. On the upper terraces, or on the 
mountain heights behind the city, stood 'afar off,' in awe, fifty 
of the young disciples ; ' and they two stood by Jordan.' 
They stood by its rushing stream ; but they were not to be 
detained by even this barrier. 'The aged Gileadite cannot 
' rest till he again sets foot on his own side of the river.' He 
ungirds the rough mantle from around his shaggy frame ; he 
'rolled it together,' as if into a wonder-working staff; he 
' smote ' the turbid river, as though it were a living enemy : 
and the ' waters divided hither and thither, and they two went 
' over on dry ground.' And now they were lost to the view 
amidst the l thicket on that farther shore, under the shade of 
those hills of Pisgah and of Gilead, where, in former times, a 
Prophet, greater even than Elijah, had been withdrawn from 
the eyes of his people— whence, in his early youth, Elijah had 
himself descended on his august career. He knew that his 
hour was come ; he knew that he had at last returned home ; 
that he was to go whither Moses had gone before him ; and he 
turned to Elisha to ask for his last wish. One only gift was in 
Elisha's mind to ask : ' I pray thee, let a double portion — if it 
' be only two morsels, 2 two-thirds — of thy spirit be upon me, 
' the right of thy first-born son.' 

It was a hard thing that he had asked. But it was granted, 
on one condition. If he was able to retain to the end the 
same devoted perseverance, and keep his eye, set and stead- 
fast, on the departing Prophet, the gift would be his. ' And 
' as they still went on,' — upwards, it may be, towards the Eastern 
hills, talking as they went — ' behold, there appeared a chariot 
' of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder.' 
This was the severance of the two friends. 

Then came a furious storm. ' And Elijah went up in the 
' tempest 3 into heaven.' In this inextricable interweaving of 
fact and figure, it is enough to mark how fitly such an act 
closes such a life. ' My father, my father,' Elisha cried, 'the 
' chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.' So Elijah had 

1 See Tristram's ' Lectures at Dublin,' with Deut. xxi. 17; see Mr. Grove on 

1868, p. 10. Elisha, Diet, of the Bible, p. 535, note. 

' This (and not 'double thy spirit') 3 2 Kings ii. 11 (Heb., LXX.). eV 

seems to be the sense, by comparing it avaazivixy cos tis tor ovpa.vov. 

lrct, xxxi. END OF ELIJAH. 275 

stood a sure defence to his country against all the chariots and 
horsemen that were ever pouring in upon them from the sur- 
rounding nations. So he now seemed, when he passed away, 
lost in the flames of the steeds and the car that swept him 
from the earth, as in the fire of his own unquenchable spirit — 
in the fire which had thrice blazed around him in his passage 
through his troubled earthly career. According to the Jewish 
legends, he was at his birth wrapped in swaddling-bands of 
fire, and fed with flames. 1 During the whole of his course, 
1 he rose up as a fire, and his word blazed as a torch.' 2 And 
as in its fiery force and energy, so in its mystery, the end 
corresponded to the beginning. He had appeared in the 
history, we know not whence, and now he has gone in like 
manner. As of Moses, so of Elijah — ' no man knoweth his 
1 sepulchre ; no man knoweth his resting-place until this day.' 
On some lonely peak, or in some deep ravine, the sons of the 
Prophets vainly hope to find him, cast away by the Breath of 
the Lord, as in former times. 'And they sought him three 
' days, but found him not' He was gone, no more to be seen 
by mortal eyes ; or, if ever again, only in far distant ages, when 
his earthly likeness should once again 3 appear in that same 
sacred region, or when, on the summit of ' a high mountain, 
1 apart by themselves,' three disciples, like Elisha, should be 
gathered round a Master whose departure they were soon 
expecting : and there appeared unto them Moses and ' Elijah 
'talking with him.' 4 The Ascension 5 or Assumption of 
Elijah stands out, alone in the Jewish history, as the highest 
representation of the end of a great and good career : of death 
as seen under its noblest aspect — as the completion and crown 
of the life which had preceded it, as the mysterious shrouding 
of the departed within the invisible world. By a sudden stroke 
of storm and whirlwind, or, as we may almost literally say of 
the martyrs of old, by chariots and horses of fire, the servants 
of God pass away. We know not where they rest ; we may 
search high and low, in the height of the highest peak of our 

1 Legend quoted by Krummacher. * Ibid. xvii. 3. 

1 Ecclus. xlviii. 1. * Its traditional day is July 20 (see the 

Matt. iii. 4, 5, xi. 14, xviii. ir, 13. Acta Sanctorum). 

T 2 

276 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELISHA. lect. xxxi. 

speculations, or in the depth of the darkest shadow of the 
valley of death. Legend upon legend l may gather round 
them, as upon Elijah ; but the Sacred Record itself is silent. 
One only mode or place there is where we may think of them, 
as of Elijah — in those who come afterwards in their power and 
spirit, or in that One Presence which still brings us near to 
them, in the Mount of the Transfiguration, in communion with 
the Beloved of God. 

The close of the career of Elijah is the beginning of the 
career of Elisha. It had been when he was ploughing, with a 
The call of vast array of oxen before him, in the rich pastures of 
EHsha. tne j or d an valley, that Elijah swept past him. With- 
out a word, he had stripped off the rough mantle of his office, 
and thrown it over the head of the wondering youth. Without 
a moment's delay he had stalked on, as if he had done nothing. 
But Elisha had rushed after the Prophet, and had obtained the 
playful permission to return for a farewell to his father and 
mother, in a solemn sacrificial feast, and had then followed him 
ever since. He had seen his master to the end. He had 
uttered 2 a loud scream of grief as he saw him depart. He had 
rent asunder his own garments, as in mourning for the dead. 
The mantle which fell from Elijah was now his. From that 
act and those words has been drawn the figure of speech which 
has passed into a proverb for the succession of the gifts of 
gifted men. It is one of the representations by which, in the 
Roman catacombs, the early Christians consoled themselves for 
the loss of their departed friends. With the mantle he descends 
once more to the Jordan-stream, and wields it in his hand. 
The waters (so one version of the text represents 3 the scene) 
for a moment hesitate : ' they divided not.' He invokes the 
aid of Him, to whose other holy names he adds the new 
epithet of ' The God of Elijah ; ' and then the waters ' part 
1 hither and thither,' and he passes over, and emerges once 
more to the view of the prophets of the rising generation who 
were henceforth to be his disciples. They see at once that 
1 the spirit of Elijah rests upon Elisha,' and they ' bow them- 
' selves to the ground before him.' In the western valley of 

1 Sec Lecture XXX. 2 2 Kings iL 12 (Heb.). * Ibid. 14 (LXX.). 

lect. xxxi. CONTRAST WITH ELIJAH. 277 

the Jordan, in the gardens and groves of Jericho, now fresh 
from its recent restoration, he takes up his abode. 

A long career of sixty years now opens before us, which 
serves to bring out the general features ! of his relations to his 
predecessor. The succession was close and immediate, but it 
was a succession not of likeness, but of contrast. The whole 
Contrast appearance of Elisha revealed the difference. The 
with Elijah. ver y children laughed when they saw the change, and 
watched the smooth well-shorn 2 head of the new and youthful 
Prophet going up the steep ascent, where last they had seen the 
long shaggy locks streaming down the shoulders of the great 
and awful Elijah. The rough mantle of his master appears no 
more after its first display. He uses a walking- staff, like other 
grave citizens. 3 He was not secluded in mountain-fastnesses, 
but dwelt in his own 4 house in the royal city ; or lingered 
amidst the sons of the Prophets, within the precincts of ancient 
colleges embowered amidst the shade of the beautiful woods 
which overhang the crystal spring that is still associated with 5 
his name ; or was sought out by admiring disciples in some 
tower on Carmel, or by the 6 pass of Dothan ; or was received 
in some quiet balcony, overlooking the plain of Esdraelon, 
where bed and table and seat had been prepared for him by 
pious hands. 7 His life was not spent, like his predecessor's, in 
unavailing struggles, but in widespread successes. He was 
sought out not as the enemy, but as the friend and councillor 
of kings. One 8 king was crowned at his bidding, and wrought 
all his will. Another consulted him in war ; another, on the 
treatment of his prisoners ; another, in the extremity of illness ; 
another, to receive his parting counsels. 9 { My father,' was 
their reverent address to him. 10 Even in far Damascus, as we 

1 Any chronological arrangement of * 2 Kings v. 9, 24, vi. 22, xiii. 17. 

Elisha's life is impossible. In the account 5 The Ain es-Sultdn, near Jericho, 

of his miracles, it is usually ' the King of often called Elisha's Spring. 2 Kings ii. 

' Israel ' that is mentioned without names. 18-22, vi. i. 

In two instances at least (2 Kings viii. i-6 • 2 Kings iv. 25, vi. 14. 

and xiii. 14-21, which respectively precede 7 Ibid. iv. 8, 10. 

2 Kings v. 27 and xiii. n), there has been " Jehu. 2 Kings ix. 1, 2, 6-10. 

a complete dislocation of the narrative. 9 Ibid. iii. n-19, vi. 21, viii. 8, xiii. 

a Such is the meaning of the wo:d in 14-19. 

t Kings ii. 23. ,0 Ibid. vi. ax, xiii. 14. 

" a Kings iv. 29 ; comp. Zech. viii. 4. 

27S THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— ELISHA. user. xxxt. 

shall see, his face was known. Benhadad treats him with filial 
respect ; Hazael trembled before him. Naaman hung on his 
words as upon an oracle. l If for a moment he shows that the 
remembrance of the murder of Naboth and the prophets of 
Ahab and Jezebel is burnt into his soul, 2 yet he never actively 
interposes to protest against the idolatry or the tyranny of the 
Court. Even in the revolution of Jehu he takes no direct part. 
Against the continuance of the worship of Baal and Ashtaroth, 
or the revival of the Golden Calves, there is no recorded word 
of protest. There is no express teaching handed down. Even 
in his oracular answers there is something uncertain and hesi- 
tating. He needs the minstrel's harp to call forth his peculiar 3 
powers, as though he had not them completely within his own 
control. His deeds were not of wild terror, but of gracious, 
soothing, homely beneficence, bound up with the ordinary tenor 
of human life. When he smites with blindness, it is that he 
may remove it again ; when he predicts, it is the prediction of 
plenty, and not of famine. 4 The leprosy of Gehazi is but as 
the condition of the deliverance of Naaman. One only trait, 
and that on the very threshold of his career, belongs entirely to 
that fierce spirit of Elijah which called down Our Lord's rebuke 
— when he cursed the children of Bethel for their mockery. 5 
The act itself, and its dreadful sequel, are as exceptional in the 
life of Elisha as they are contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. 6 
At his house by Jericho the bitter spring is sweetened j for the 
widow of one of the prophets (traditionally of Elijah's 7 friend) 
the oil is increased ; even the workmen at the prophets' huts 
are not to lose the axehead which has fallen through the 
thickets of the Jordan into the eddying 8 stream ; the young 
prophets, at their common meal, are saved from the deadly 
herbs 9 which had been poured from the blanket of one of 

1 2 Kings viii. 7, 8, n-13, v. 18. woman of 1 Kings iv. 1-7 with the widow 

* Ibid. iii. 13. of Obadiah (see Targttm on the passage, 

* Ibid. 15. and Josephus, Ant. ix. 4, § 2). 

* Ibid. vi. 18-20, vii. 1. * 2 Kings vi. 5-7. 

s Ibid. ii. 23, 24. 9 Probably the bitter colocynth, grow- 

8 See the contrast drawn between the ing in profusion on the plain of Gilgal, 
cruelty of Elisha and the mercy of S. and there mistaken for the wild melon, 
James of Nisibis, in Theodoret (Philo- which it strongly resembles (Tristram's 
theus, iii. nn). ' Lectures at Dublin,' 1868, p. 13). 

9 Th* Jewish tradition identifies the 

lkct. xxxi. CONTRAST WITH ELIJAH. 2?9 

them into the cauldron ; and enjoy the multiplied provision of 
corn. At his home in Carmel he is the oracle and support of 
the neighbourhood ; and the child of his benefactress is raised 
to life, with an intense energy of sympathy that gives to the 
whole scene a charm as of the tender domestic life of modern 
times. 1 And when, at last, his end comes, in a great old age, 
he is not rapt away like Elijah, but buried with a splendid 2 
funeral ; a sumptuous tomb was shown in after ages over his 
grave, in the royal city of Samaria ; and funeral dances were 
celebrated round his honoured resting-place. 3 Alone of all the 
graves of the saints of the Old Testament, there were wonders 
wrought at it, which seemed to continue after death the grace 
of his long and gentle life. It was believed that by the mere 
touch of his bones a dead corpse was 4 re- animated. In this, 
as in so much beside, his life and miracles are not Jewish but 
Christian. His works stand alone in the Bible in their likeness 
to the acts of mediaeval saints. There alone in the Sacred 
History the gulf between Biblical and Ecclesiastical miracles 
almost disappears. 5 The exception proves the general rule ; 
still it is but just to notice the exception. 

Such was Elisha, greater yet less, less yet greater, than 
Elijah. He is less. For character is the real Prophetic gift. 
The man, the will, the personal grandeur of the Prophet are 
greater than any amount of Prophetic acts, or any extent of 
Prophetic success. We cannot dispense with the mighty past, 
even when we have shot far beyond it. Nations, churches, 
individuals, must all be content to feel as dwarfs in comparison 
with the giants of old time, — with the Reformers, the Martyrs, 
the Heroes of their early youthful reverence. Those who 
follow cannot be as those who went before. A Prophet like 
Elijah comes once, and does not return. Elisha, both to his 
countrymen and to us, is but the successor, the faint reflection 
of his predecessor. When he appeared before the three 
suppliant kings, his chief honour was that he was ■ Elisha 

1 2 Kings iv. 27-37. * 2 Kings xiii. 21. 

a Josephus, Ant. ix. 8, § 6. 5 Compare especially those of S. Beno- 

1 Jerome, Conttn. on Obad. i. 1 ; diet and S. Bernard, which are the same 

Epitaph. Panics, § 13. in character, only far more numerous. 

2So THE HOUSE OF OMRL— ELISHA. lbct. xxxi. 

1 the son of Shaphat, who poured water on the hands of 
'•Elijah.' 1 

Less, yet greater. For the work of the great ones of this 
earth is carried on by far inferior instruments, but on a far 
wider scale, and, it may be, in a far higher spirit. The life of 
an Elijah is never spent in vain. Even his death has not taken 
him from us. He struggles, single-handed as it would seem, 
and without effect ; and in the very crisis of the nation's his- 
tory is suddenly and mysteriously removed. But his work 
continues ; his mantle falls ; his teaching spreads ; his enemies 
perish. The Prophet preaches and teaches, the martyr dies 
and passes away ; but other men enter into his labours. By 
that one impulse of Elijah, Elisha and Elisha's successors, 
Prophets and sons of Prophets, are raised up by fifties and by 
hundreds. They must work in their own way. They must 
not try to retain the spirit of Elijah by repeating his words, or 
by clothing themselves in his rough mantle, or by living his 
strange life. What was begun in fire and storm, in solitude 
and awful visions, must be carried on through winning arts, and 
healing acts, and gentle words of peaceful and social inter- 
course ; not in the desert of Horeb, or on the top of Carmel, 
but in the crowded thoroughfares of Samaria, in the gardens of 
Damascus, by the rushing waters of Jordan. Elisha himself 
may be as nothing compared with Elijah. His wonders may 
be forgotten. He dies by the long decay of years ; no chariots 
of fire are there to lighten his last moments, or bear away his 
soul to heaven. Yet he knows that, though unseen, they are 
always around him. Once in the city of Dothan, in the ancient 
pass, where the caravans of the Midianites and the troops of 
the Syrians stream through into Central Palestine, — when he is 
compassed about with the chariots and horses of the hostile 
armies, and his servant cries out for fear, Elisha said, ' Fear not : 
' for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 
1 . . . And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and 
' chariots of fire round about Elisha.' 2 It is a vision of which 
the meaning acquires double force from its connexion with the 
actual history ; as if to show, by the very same figure, that the 

1 2 Kitifs iii. ii. 2 Ibid. vi. i6, 17. 

lect. xxm. CONTRAST WITH ELIJAH. 28 1 

hope which bore Elijah to his triumphal end was equally pre- 
sent with Elisha. Elijah, and those who are as Elijah, are 
needed, in critical and momentous occasions, to 'prepare the 
' way for the Lord.' His likeness is John the Baptist : and of 
those who were born of women before the time of Christendom 
none were 'greater than they.' But Elisha, and those who are 
like Elisha, have a humbler, and yet a wider, and therefore a 
holier sphere : for their works are not the works of the Baptist, 
but are the deeds, if not of Christ Himself, at any rate of ' the 
' least in His kingdom,' — the gentle, beneficent, 'holy man of 
' God, who passeth by us continually.' l 

1 2 Kings iv. 9. 

282 THE HOUSE OF OMRL— JEHU. lkcx. xxxn. 



As Elisha had succeeded Elijah, so it would seem as if Gehazi 
was to have succeeded Elisha. He was 'the servant of the man 
'of God. ' l He bore the wonder-working staff. ' He 
' stood before ' his master as a slave. 2 He introduced 
strangers to the Prophet's presence. 3 He was 'the dear heart' 
of the Prophet's affection. 4 But, as has so often happened in 
like successions of the Christian Church, in the successors of S. 
Francis, of Ignatius Loyola, and of John Wesley, the original 
piety and vigour have failed in the next generation. There was 
a coarse grain in the servant which parted him entirely from his 
master. He and his children were known, in after-times, only 
as the founders of a race of lepers, bearing on their foreheads 
the marks of an accursed ancestry. 5 

There was another successor, not less unequal and unlike, 
already designated by Elijah himself. With Elisha and Hazael, 
The call of m tne vision at Horeb, had been named Jehu, the son 
Jehu. or g ran d son f Nimshi. 6 Years had rolled away 

since his meeting with Elijah in the vineyard of Naboth. He 
was now high in the favour of Ahab's son, as captain of the 
host in the Syrian war. In that war of chariots and horses, he 
had acquired an art little practised by the infantry of the ancient 
Israelites. He was known through the whole army and country 
for driving his horses like ' one out of his mind.' 7 

1 2 Kings iv. 12, 29. The word is e 1 Kings xix. 16. His full pedigree is 

na'ar, 'attendant,' not ebed, ' slave.' given in 2 Kings ix. 2. 

3 Ibid. v. 25. 7 The same word as in 2 Kings ix. n. 
s Ibid. iv. 12, 15. So LXX. evnapaWayr). But the Targum 

4 See Ewald on 2 Kings v. 26. and Josephus, Ant. ix. 6, J 3, ' slowly.' 
• Comp. 2 Kings v. 27. 

Utcf. xxxn. THE CALL OF JEHU. 283 

The army which he commanded was at Ramoth-Gilead. 
That was still the point round which the interest of the Syrian 
war revolved. The king himself had been present at the siege, 
had been in personal danger, and had returned home to Jezreel 
to be cured of his wounds l from the arrows of the Syrian 
archers. It was in his absence that a young man — said by 
2 tradition to be the future Prophet Jonah, son of the widow of 
Zarephath — arrived at the camp with a small flask 3 in his hand. 
His garments were girt round him as of one travelling in haste, 
and his appearance was wild and excited, as of a madman. 
From the midst of the captains he singled out Jehu. The 
soldier and the youth withdrew into the house, in front of 
which they were sitting. Through the house they went from 
chamber to chamber, till they reached the most secret recess. 4 
The officers remained outside in anxious expectation. Pre- 
sently the door of the house opened, and the youth rushed out 
and disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared. Then Jehu 
himself came forth. He put off their eager inquiry for a 
moment. l Ye know the man and his meditations ;' as much 
as to say, ' You know 5 as well as I do, that this mysterious 
1 visitor was no other than a prophet, coming and going, after 
'the manner of Elijah.' With an abruptness which gives a 
touch of military life to the whole transaction, they replied ' It 
'is a lie ; tell us now.' Then he broke his reserve, and re- 
vealed the secret interview. It had, indeed, been a messenger 
from Elisha, to fulfil the long-impending mission of Elijah. Once 
more there was a consecrated king of Israel. The oil of 
inauguration had been poured on the head of Jehu. He was 
to go forth, ' the anointed of the Lord,' to exterminate the house 
of Ahab. fi It was as if a spark had been set to a train long 
prepared. There was not a moment's hesitation. The officers 

* 2 Kings ix. 14, 15; 2 Chron. xxii. namely, the sacred oil. So Joseph. Ant. 

5, 6. For the archers, see LXX. of ix. 6, 5 1. 

latter passage, and Josephus, Ant. ix. 6, * Kheder is always 'the inner cham- 

§ *■ 'ber.' This (ix. 2) is ' the inner chamber 

a Seder O lam, cap. 18, with the notes 'of inner chambers.' 
of Meyer, 933, 934. s Josephus {Ant. ix. 6, § 2) renders it 

3 2 Kings ix. 1, 3. Only used here ' Vcur words show that you know- for his 

and in 1 Sam. x. 1 ; in each case the He- ' message was, indeed, that of a madman.' 
bre.v definite article is used— i the oil," ' 2 Chron. xxii. 7 ; 2 Kings ix. 7. 

284 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— JEHU. lbct. xxxn. 

tore off their military cloaks, and spread them under his feet, 
where he stood on the top of the stairs ! leading down into the 
court. As he stood on this extempore throne, with no seat but 
the steps covered by the carpeting of the square pieces of 
cloth, they blew the well-known blast of the ram's horn which 
always accompanied the inauguration of a king of Israel. 

From this moment the course of Jehu is fixed. The des- 
tiny long brooding over him — the design perhaps raised in his 
The march own mm d> fr° m tne day when he had first met Elijah 
of Jehu. — i s t De accomplished. ' If it be your minds, let 
' none go forth, nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jez- 
'reel.' The secresy was to be preserved till the last moment. 
He mounted his chariot ; he armed himself with his 2 bow and 
quiver. A large part of the army followed him. They crossed 
the Jordan, and up the wide opening of the valley between 
Little Hermon and Bilboa, they advanced upon Jezreel. Twice 3 
over we are told, not without a certain pathos, that the King 
of Israel lay sick in Jezreel of the wounds that he had received 
in the battles of his country, and that his nephew, the King of 
Judah, had come to visit him in his sick-chamber. They were 
startled by the announcement of the sentinel — who stood 
always on the high watch-tower 4 of Jezreel looking towards the 
east — that the 5 dust of a vast multitude was seen advancing 
from the Jordan valley. The first apprehension must have 
been of a Syrian invasion, or of a Syrian alliance. Two horse- 
men were successively sent out to bring information, but, 
according to his plan, were detained by Jehu, so as to secure 
the suddenness of his arrival : till at last, as the cavalcade drew 
nearer, the sentinel on the watch-tower recognised, by the 
furious speed of the foremost horses, that the charioteer could 

1 ' The expression translated on the ' the flat platform which formed the top or 

* top of the stairs is one of which we have ' roof of the house. Thus he was conspicu- 

' lost the clue. The word is gerem, i.e. a 'ous against the sky, while the captains 

'"bone," and the meaning appears to be 'were below him in the quadrangle.' — 

' that they placed Jehu on the very stairs Diet, of the Bible, article Jehu. 
' themselves, without any seat or chair a 2 Kings ix. 24. 

'below him. The stairs doubtless ran * Ibid. viii. 28, ix. 15. 

' round the inside of the quadrangle of the * An old square tower still remains. 

' house, as they do now, for instance, in See Ritter, Palest. 414 ; perhaps Mi%< 

' the ruin called the house of Zaccheus at dol. 
'Jericho — and Jehu sat where they joined s 2 Kings ix. 17 (LXX.). 

lect. xxxii. THE DEATH OF JEZEBEL. 285 

be no other than Jehu, the Mad Driver. Joram, still appa- 
rently filled with the thought of the Syrian war, roused himself 
from his sick-bed, and, accompanied by his nephew, went out 
Arrival at to meet tne captain of his host. Jehu had halted, in 
jezred. n is onward march, at a well-known spot, close under 
the walls of Jezreel. They • found ' him in the fatal plot of 
Naboth's ground. He was determined to receive them there. 
Then, in answer to Joram's question, ' Is it peace, Jehu ? ' he 
revealed his purpose. It was the great Queen-mother, the 
mighty Jezebel, that was the main object of his attack. Joram 
wheeled his chariot round and fled. An arrow from Jehu's 
bow pierced his back. He fell in the chariot ; and Jehu, with 
a grim reference to Elijah's prophecy, delivered on that very 
spot, bade his chief officer, Bidkar, throw the lifeless carcase 
on the ground, and leave it for the vultures and dogs. 1 The 
King of Judah meantime had fled far down the western plain. 
The accounts of his death vary. He endeavoured to escape 
through the Pass of Engannim ; but the arrows of his pursuers 
struck him also, though not fatally, near the ascent to a well- 
known 2 caravanserai, which caused him to change his route. 
According to Josephus, 3 he left his chariot, and rode on horse- 
back to Megiddo. Here his strength failed. According to the 
Chronicles, 4 he contrived to reach Samaria, and lay there con- 
cealed, till he was dragged out, probably some days later, and 
killed in cold blood. 

Jehu was now near the gates of Jezreel. The palace over- 
hung the walls, and looked down on the dreadful scene of 
guilt and of retribution. There was one spirit in the house 
The death OI " Ahab still unbroken. The aged Queen-mother 
of Jezebel. t i rec j h er head and painted her 5 eyelids with lead-ore, 
to give them a darker border and a brighter and larger appear- 
ance, and looked through the high latticed window of the 
watch-tower. 6 The supreme hour of her dynasty and of her 
life was come : and as Jehu's chariot rolled up the ascent, she 

1 2 Kings ix. 26. Ephrem Syrus reads * Ant. ix. 6, § 3. 
it, 'for yesternight I saw ' (i.e. 111 * 2 Chron. xxii. 9. 
'the blood of Naboth and his sons' — * 2 Kings ix. 3o(Heb.). 
om.tting ' the Lord said.' * Joseph. Ant. ix. 6, § 4. 

2 The ' going up to Gur.' 

286 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— JEHU, lect. xxxii. 

cast her thoughts back to the day when Omri, the founder of 
her dynasty, had trampled down the false usurper Zimri. It is 
difficult to know whether her words were spoken in stern 
rebuke or bitter irony, ' Had Zimri peace who slew his lord ? ' l 
or 'Welcome 3 to Zimri, the slayer of his lord.' The savage 
conqueror looked up.* His words, too, are variously handed 
down : 'Who art thou ? ' — 'Come down tome;' or 'Who is on 
1 my side, who ? ' 4 Two eunuchs here, three there, looked out 
at his call, and dashed 5 the Queen down from the window. 
She fell between the palace and the advancing chariot. The 
blood flew up against the wall and over the horses, as they 
trampled her down under their hoofs. The conquering proces- 
sion drove through the gateway, and sate down to a triumphal 
feast. 6 Not till the feast was over did a spark of feeling rise 
within the breast of Jehu at the fall of so much grandeur. He 
bade his servants go out and bury the woman, who, with all her 
crimes, was yet the daughter of a king. But it was too late. 
The body had been left on the ' mounds,' as they are called in 
Eastern stories, where the offal is thrown outside the city gates. 
The wild dogs of Jezreel, prowling then as now around the 
walls, had done their work; only the harder parts of the human 
frame remained— the skull, the hands, and the feet. 7 It is this 
dreadful scene which is so well caught in Racine's tragedy of 
1 Athalie,' where the daughter of Jezebel recounts the dream in 
which her mother's ghost appeared to her : — 

Ma mere Jezabel devant moi s'est montree, 
Comme au jour de sa mort, pompeusement paree. 
Ses malheurs n'avaient point abattu sa fierte, 
Meme elle avait encore cet eclat emprunte 
Dont elle eut soin de peindre et d'orner son visage, 
Pour reparer des ans l'irreparable outrage . . . 
Son ombre vers mon lit a paru se baisser, 
Et moi je lui tendis les mains pour 1'embrasser, 
Mais je n'ai plus trouve qu'un horrible melange 
D'os et de chair meurtris et traines dans la fange, 

1 Or, ' It is peace, O Zimri, slayer of * Joseph, ibid, and LXX. 

' his lord ' (Keil, Comment.). 5 2 Kings ix. 33. 

a So Joseph. Ant. ix. 6, § 4, KaAbs * Ibid. 34 

SovAo?, &c. * Ibid. 34-37 ; comp. Ps. cxli. 7, 

* Joseph, ibid, 

lbct. xxxii. JEHONADAB. 287 

Des lambeaux pleins de sang et des membres affreux, 
Que des chiens devorans disputaient entre eux. 1 

Every stage of Jehu's progress was thenceforth marked with 
blood, yet still under the same overruling self-control. After 
the fall of Jezreel, he marched on to the capital, Samaria. Of 
seventy young Princes who were waiting his arrival there he 
March on secured the destruction by a bold challenge which 
Samaria. threw the responsibility on the chief minister. 2 Half- 
way between Jezreel and Samaria was a well-known shearing- 
house, or other resort of shepherds ; here he executed forty-two 
members of the royal family of Judah, who had started from 
Jerusalem, perhaps on the rumour of the revolution at Jezreel. 
In a well, close by, as at Cawnpore, they were all slaughtered. 
It was immediately after this that he came across a figure, who 
might have reminded him of Elijah himself. It was Jehonadab 
. . . . the son of Rechab — that is the son of the ' Rider ' — 


an Arab chief of the Kenite tribe, who was the 
founder or second founder of one of those Nazarite communi- 
ties which 3 had grown up in the kingdom of Israel, and which 
in this instance combined a kind of monastic discipline with the 
manners of the Bedouin race from whom they were descended. 4 
It seems that he and Jehu were already known to each other. 5 
The King was in his chariot ; the Arab was on foot. It may 
be that the house of 'the 6 shepherds' (as the place of their 
meeting was called) was a usual haunt of the pastoral chief. It 
is not clear which was the first to speak. The Hebrew text 
implies that the King gave his blessing to Jehonadab. 7 The 
Septuagint and Josephus imply that Jehonadab blessed the 
King. The King knew the stern tenacity of purpose that dis- 
tinguished Jehonadab and his tribe : ' Is thy heart right with 
• my heart, as my heart is with thy heart?' The answer of 
Jehonadab is slightly varied. In the Hebrew text he replies ve- 
hemently, 'It is, it is — give me thy hand.' In the 8 Septuagint, 

1 Act. ii. sc. 5. ' Beth-eked (translated ' the shearing- 

* 2 Kings x. 3. ' house '). 

* Amosii. it. ' In Josephus, Jehonadab blesses Jehu ; 

* 1 Chr. ii. 55 ; Jer. xxxv. 6, 7. see Keil, ad loc. 

1 Joseph. Ant. ix. 6, 5 6. ■ Followed by English Version. 

288 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.- JEHU. lf.ct. xxxii. 

he replies simply, ' It is,' and then Jehu, with his wonted cau- 
tion, rejoins, 'If it is, give me thy hand.' The hand, whether 
of Jehonadab or Jehu, was grasped in a clasp which was not 
afterwards parted. The King lifted him up to the edge of 
the chariot apparently to whisper into his ear the first indica- 
tion of the religious revolution which he had determined to 
make with the political revolution already accomplished. Side 
by side with the King, the austere Hermit sate in the royal 
chariot as he entered the capital of Samaria, ' the warrior in his 
1 coat of mail, the ascetic in his haircloth.' 1 

After the few remaining adherents or members of the house 
of Ahab were put to death, it might have seemed that the throne 
The mas- °^ J enu was established, and the massacres stayed, 
sacre at Nothing had yet been done beyond what might be 

Samaria. . . . . , . . 

necessary for the extinction of the reigning dynasty. 
The temple of Ashtaroth had been left standing at Jezreel; 2 
the temple of Baal was still standing in Samaria. To Jehona- 
dab alone had the King whispered his zeal for Jehovah. To 
all the rest of Israel he could say, ' Ahab served Baal a little ; 
1 but Jehu shall serve him much. ' A splendid festival was an- 
nounced in the temple at Samaria ; the whole heathen population 
of Israel was summoned ; the sacrifices were ready ; the sacred 
vestments were brought out ; all the worshippers of Baal were 
there j all the servants of Jehovah, as unworthy of the sacred 
mysteries, were excluded. 3 The King himself was the first to 
enter, and offer the victims to the heathen gods. There was 
nothing in that unmoved countenance to betray the secret. 
Even the King and the Anchorite were able to the last moment 
to preserve the mask of conformity to the Phoenician worship. 
They completed 4 their sacrifice, and left the temple. Round 
about the building were eighty men, consisting of the King's 
own immediate officers and bodyguard. They were entrusted 
with the double charge, first of preventing the escape of any- 
one, and, secondly, of striking the deadly blow. They entered, 
and the temple was strewn with corpses, which, as fast as they 
fell, the guards and the officers threw out with their own hands. 

1 Dr. Pusey on Amos, p. 176. a 2 Kings xiii. 6 

3 See Herodian, v. 5 ; Silius Ital. iii. 20-27 (Ewald, in. 532). * 2 Kings x. 25 (LXX.). 

lbct. xxxn. HIS CHARACTER. 289 

At last, when the bloody work was over, they found their way 
to the inner sanctuary, which towered like a fortress above the 
rest. There, as we have 1 seen, Baal was seated aloft, with 
the gods of Phoenicia round him. The wooden images, small 
and great, were dragged from their thrones and burnt. The 
pillar or statue of Baal which Joram had removed was also 
shattered. The temple was razed to the ground, and its site 
only known in after-days as the depository of all the filth of 
the town. 2 

So ended this great revolution. The national worship of 
Baal was thus in the northern kingdom for ever suppressed. 
For a short time, through the very circumstances which had de- 
stroyed it in Samaria, it shot up afresh in Jerusalem. But in 
Israel, the whole kingdom and church returned to the condi- 
tion in which it was before the accession of the house of Omri. 
The calf- worship of Jeroboam was once more revived, and in 
that imperfect form the True Religion once more became 

The character of Jehu is not difficult to understand, if we 
take it as a whole, and consider the general impression left 
upon us by the Biblical account. He is exactly one 
of those men whom we are compelled to recognise, 
not for what is good or great in themselves, but as instruments 
for destroying evil and preparing the way for good ; such as 
Augustus Caesar at Rome, Sultan Mahmoud II. in Turkey, or 
one closer at hand in the revolutions of our own time and 
neighbourhood. A destiny, long kept in view by himself or 
others— inscrutable secresy and reserve in carrying out his 
plans — a union of cold remorseless tenacity with occasional 
bursts of furious, wayward, almost fanatical zeal : this is Jehu, 
as he is set before us in the historical narrative, the worst type 
of a son of Jacob — the ' supplanter,' as he is called, 3 without 
the noble and princely qualities of Israel — the most unlovely 
and the most coldly commended of all the heroes of his 
country. 4 

1 See Lecture XXX. " Except that ' all his might ' is ap- 

1 2 Kings x. 27. plied to him alone of all the Kings of 

1 Ibid. 19, ' in subtilty' (Heb.). Israel (2 Kings x. 34). 

II. u 

290 THE HOUSE OF OMRI.— JEHU. lect. xxxii. 

We may remember the poem in the ' Lyra Apostolica ' — 

Thou to wax fierce 
In the cause of the Lord ; 

and the striking passage of Racine — 

Jehu, sur les hauts lieux enfin osant offrir 
Un temeraire encens que Dieu ne peut souffrir, 
N'a pour servir sa cause et venger ses injures 
Ni le cceur assez droit ni les mains assez pures. 1 

And it is a striking instance of the gradually increasing light, 
even in the Jewish Dispensation, that in the wider and more 
evangelical revelations of the later Prophets, the commendation 
on Jehu's acts is repealed. It is declared, through the voice 
of Hosea, that for the blood even of Jezebel and Ahaziah an 
account must be rendered : ' I will avenge the blood of JezreeL 
1 upon the house of Jehu.' 2 Their blood, like the blood which 
has been shed again and again in the convulsions of Nations 
and Churches, was a righteous retribution on them ; but from 
him who shed it a no less righteous retribution is at last ex- 
acted, by the just judgment which punishes the wrongdoer, not 
only of one party in Church or State, but of both. 

And the accursed spot of the ancient dynasty, the very title 
and site of Jezreel, seemed to draw down upon itself a kind of 
Divine compassion. The innocent child of the Prophet was to 
bear the name of Jezreel, and ' the bow ' of Jehu's house ' was 
* to be broken' ... in the great 'day of Jezreel.' 3 It is the 
same touching thought of life growing out of death, which has 
so often forced itself on those who have seen the rich harvest 
springing out of the battle-field, that out of that time and place 
of humiliation the name is to go back to its original significa- 
tion as derived from the beauty and fertility of the rich plain, 
and to become a pledge of the revived beauty and richness of 
Israel. ' I will hear and answer the heavens, and they will 
1 hear and answer the earth, and the earth shall hear and an- 

1 Athalie, act in. sc. 6. 'him.' Compare 1 Kings xv. 29 and 

* Hosea i. 4. So Baasha, though he xvi. 7. 
has the Divine command to overthrow ■ Hosea i. 4, 5, 11. 

Nadab. is condemned ' because he killed 

lbct. xxxn. HIS CHARACTER. 29 I 

1 swer the corn and the wine and the oil of that fruitful plain, 
1 and they shall hear and answer Jezreel (that is, the seed of 
1 God), and I will sow her unto Me in the earth.' l And from 
this time the image seems to have been continued as a prophe- 
tical expression for sowing the blessings of God, and the people 
of Israel, as it were broadcast ; as though the whole of Palestine 
and the world were to become, in a spiritual sense, one rich 
plain of Jezreel. 

1 Hosea i. 4, 5, 11, ii. 22 (Heb.) ; see Ewald, Propheten, ad loc., and Gesenius> 
article Jezreel. 

292 THE HOUSE OF JEHU. lbct. xxxiii. 



With the overthrow of the house of Omri, the main interest 
of the history of Samaria is brought to an end. The long 
struggle was finished, and the good cause, in however imperfect 
a form, and by instruments however rude, triumphed at last. 
The scenes of that struggle have been described as they are 
given in the Sacred narrative itself, not softening any of their 
horrors, nor extenuating their intense charm. Ulphilas, the 
apostle of the Goths, and author of the first version of the 
Scriptures in the German languages, omitted from his transla- 
tion the Books of Kings, lest descriptions like these should 
rouse or confirm the savage spirit of the barbarian tribes. It 
is an advantage of our more civilised times, that we can now 
read those interesting narratives without any such fear. They 
are not Christian ; they belong to that state of crude morality 
which our Lord condemned. 1 But as illustrations of the Jew- 
ish Church, and as masterpieces of the historical art, if I may 
say so, of the Hebrew Scriptures, they are invaluable. 

Of the less important period of the House of Jehu, the Sy- 
rian wars form the main outward framework. Down to the time 
of the disruption of the kingdom, the people of Israel had on 
the whole maintained its independence of foreign powers. Its 
contests and alliances had for the most part been with the 
The Syrian nations enclosed within the limits of Palestine. The 
wars- conquests of David, the commerce of Solomon, had 

not entangled them in any close political relations with the 

1 Matt. v. 27, &c. Sec Lecture XI. 

lect. xxxm. DAMASCUS. 293 

more distant of the surrounding nations. But the separation 
of the two kingdoms made each of them a more easy prey, and 
the riches acquired during the empire, previously united, ex- 
cited the ambition of the neighbouring countries, now that the 
strong hand of David and Solomon was removed. 

Damascus, as soon as it threw off the yoke of Judah, be- 
came naturally the capital of the new Aramaic kingdom thus 
formed. ' Aram (Syria) of Damascus ' was the title 
by which it was known, to distinguish it from those 
which had preceded it at Zobah, Hamath, or other places in 
the highlands of the north of Palestine. Rezon, the outlaw, 
was its founder. 1 Hader or Hadad, and Rimmon, were the 
chief divinities of the race, and from them the line of its kings 
derived their names — Hadad, Ben-hadad, Hadad-ezer, Tab- 
rimmon ; 2 and sanctuaries in their honour were established 
even in the heart of Palestine. 3 

How entirely the Syrian wars belonged to the northern, and 
not to the southern kingdom, appears from the fact that the first 
incursion, which ended in the devastation of the rich country 
round the sources of the Jordan by Benhadad, was at the direct 
instigation of the King of Judah. 4 This seems to have been 
temporary. But in Omri's reign the demands of Syria were 
bolder. ' Cities ' were taken from him — amongst them Ramoth- 
Gilead and probably other fortresses on the eastern bank of the 
Jordan— and a quarter or bazaar, in the capital of Samaria, for 
settlers from Damascus. 5 

Still more imperious demands were made on Ahab. His 
harem and his treasures were to be surrendered, and after them 
the treasures of his nobles. The army of Syria was so nume- 
rous, that the dust of Samaria, when it was ground to powder, 
would not fill their hands. The King of Syria treated the siege 
of Samaria as a pastime — sitting with his subject kings in rural 
banquets, under leafy arbours, made for the occasion. 6 Two- 
and-thirty 7 of these vassal chiefs followed Benhadad's camp, 

1 1 Kings xi. 23 ; perhaps also called * 1 Kings xv. 18-ao. 

Hezion, 1 Kings xv. 18. LXX. Esrom, 6 Ibid. xx. 34. Josephus, Ant. viii. 15. 

Rason, Hazael. ■ Ibid. xv. 18. § 3, and see Thenius ad he. 

Hadad- Rimmon. See Lecture * 1 Kings xx. 12-16. 

XXXIX. ' Ibid. xx. 1, 16, xxii. 31. 

294 THE SYRIAN WARS. lkct. xxxiii. 

each with his chariots and horses. ' Chariots and horses ' in- 
numerable were the symbol of the strength of Syria. In spite 
of all the changes introduced by Solomon, the Israelites were 
still far inferior in this branch of military service. ' The chariots l 
1 and horsemen and horses ' passed almost into a proverb to ex- 
press strength beyond their own. 2 The Israelite host, with the 
allied army of Judah encamped on their hillsides, and over- 
looking the vast army of the Syrians in the plains below, were 
but like two little flocks of mountain kids. 3 Another strong 
arm of war, although here the Israelites were more equally 
matched, was their archery. Twice over, an arrow from the 
Syrian bowmen decided the fate of battles. 4 

Ramoth-Gilead, the great frontier-fortress, was in the hands 
of Syria, even after many reverses, a constant menace against 
Ramoth- Israel. As it was now the point of contention between 
Giiead. Syria and Israel, so formerly it had been the frontier 
between the tribes of Laban and Jacob. A lofty watch-tower 
gave it the name of Mizpeh, and it was known from far as the 
rallying place of the Trans-Jordanic tribes, and the city of refuge 
of the Gadites. Campaign after campaign was formed against 
it. ' Know ye that Ramoth-Gilead is ours, and we be still, and 
' take it not out of the hands of the King of Syria ? ' was the 
standing remonstrance of the Kings of Israel. 5 ' Shall I go up 
1 against Ramoth-Gilead, or shall I forbear?' was the standing 
question. 6 Ahab lost his life in trying to recover it ; Joram 
received there the wounds which laid him long on a bed of 
sickness. There the captains of the host formed a separate 
community of themselves— from the protracted siege. The 
first question raised when a cloud of dust was seen approach- 
ing Jezreel from the east was ' Is it peace in Ramoth-Gilead ? ' 7 

Twice in Ahab's reign, and once in that of his son, the 
Syrians met with signal reverses, which saved the northern 
kingdom from utter extinction. The first was a panic in the 

1 The advantage of chariots over in- * Ibid. xxii. 34 ; 2 Chron. xxii. (LXX. 

fantry or even cavalry in the unenclosed and Josephus). 

plains of Syria is well given in Mr. New- 5 1 Kings xxii. 3. 

man's Hebrew Monarchy, p. 183. e Ibid. 6, 15. 

a 2 Kings ii. 11, 12, vi. 17, vii. 6, xiii. 7 2 Kings ix. 18; Josephus, Ant. ix 

14. 6, § 3. 

* 1 Kings xx. 27. 

tic*, xxxin. SIEGE OF SAMARIA. 295 

Syrian camp, during the preparations against Samaria, occa- 
sioned by the sudden appearance of a body of young Israelite 
nobles. The second was the battle of Aphek. l The victorious 
result was the more conspicuous from its being fought on the 
plain and not on the hills. Benhadad was reduced to beg for 
his life and kingdom, but was let off on easy terms, through 
the feeling of brotherhood even then existing among crowned 
heads. 2 

The most remarkable incident of the war was the siege of 
Samaria. It was the first of that succession of sieges which 
siege of nave ^ sucn awm l scars on the history of Israel. 
Samaria. Now for the first time, but not for the last, was the 
dreadful curse fulfilled, contained in the ancient law — 'The 
1 tender and delicate woman devouring her own offspring.' 3 
The surrounding hills were occupied by the Syrian army, who 
could watch the condition of the besieged city, reaching as it 
did down the slopes of the mountain of Samaria. Below was 
the house where Elisha held his councils ; on the summit was 
the palace. On the broad wall the King passed to and fro, 
and received the complaints of the besieged. The sudden panic 
which delivered the city is the one marked intervention in be- 
half of the northern capital. No other incident could be found 
in the sacred annals so appropriately to express, in the church 
of Gouda, the pious gratitude of the citizens of Leyden for their 
miraculous deliverance from the Spanish army, as the raising of 
the siege of Samaria. 

In the midst of these merely military and political move- 
ments there are four names which unite them to the religious 
history of the nation — Elisha, Hazael, Jeroboam II., and Jonah. 

Of Elisha we have already spoken at length, as the successor 
of Elijah, and as the supporter of the dynasty of Jehu. But 
there is another aspect of the Prophetical office in which he 
appears, and of which he is the first representative. 

On the one hand, he is the support and champion of his 
countrymen, in this time of their need, against their foreign 
enemies. He conveys to the King of Israel secret intelligence 

1 Kings xx. 23. s Deut. xxviii. 56, 57 ; a Kings vi. 38; 

" Ibid. 33. Lam. iv. 10 ; Joseph. B. J. vi. 3, § 4. 

296 THE SVktAN WARS. lect. fcxxiti. 

of all the movements of the Syrians. He takes up his abode 
in Samaria during the siege. The nobles of the city hold their 
councils in his house. He is so identified with the resistance 
to the enemy, that, on hearing of the frightful effects of the 
famine, the King sends an executioner to behead him. He is 
the life and soul of the patriotic party in the invaded kingdom. 
The Syrian King finds that he is baffled in his schemes by con- 
stant revelations of them to the King of Israel through Elisha, 
who tells 'the words that he speaks in his bedchamber.' l He 
is in this respect the forerunner of Micah and Isaiah. On the 
other hand, it is from his time that the Prophets of Israel ap- 
pear as the oracles, as the monitors, not only of Israel, but of 
the surrounding nations. The larger comprehensiveness, for 
which the way had been prepared in the reign of Solomon, was 
now beginning to show itself in this the most national of all their 
Elisha the mst i tu ti° ns - Elisha is the Prophet of the Syrians as 
Prophet of well as of the Israelites. It is this feature of his cha- 
racter that is caught in the only notice of him con- 
tained in the New Testament : ' There were many lepers in 
4 Israel in the time of Elisha the Prophet, but none were healed 
1 save Naaman the Syrian. ' 2 The incident of Naaman grows 
directly out of the relations of Israel with Syria. The plunder- 
ing troops of Damascus have carried off a little slave. She re- 
tains her recollection of the great Prophet. The wife of Naaman 
tells him. 3 The King of Israel trembles at the demand made 
upon him by his powerful neighbour to cure the general. 
Naaman (by tradition said to be the slayer 4 of Ahab) comes in 
the equipage characteristic of his country. He is furious at the 
exaltation of the turbid yellow stream of the Jordan above 
the crystal waters of Abana and Pharpar, the real ' rivers ' of 
Damascus. The Prophet, instead of claiming him as an ex- 
clusive convert, accords a gracious permission to perform the 
accustomed act of devotion to the Syrian god, Rimmon, even 

1 2 Kings vi. 10, 12, 31, 32. Elisha. It may be the explanation of the 

1 Luke iv. 27. otherwise singular expression, ' The Lord 

8 2 Kings v. 4 (LXX.). 'had by him given deliverance unto Syria.' 

* Joseph. Ant. viii. 15, § 5. This allu- 2 Kings v. 1. (See Naaman, in Diet, of 

sion is the more remarkable as Josephus the Bible.) 

omits the whole story of Naaman and 

lEcr. xxxm. HAZAEL. 297 

whilst acknowledging the supremacy of Jehovah. On another 
occasion, in the same gentle and catholic spirit, he will not 
allow the King of Israel to kill those whom he has not taken 
as prisoners of war : • Set bread and water before them, that 
' they may eat and drink and go to their master.' l 

He appears at Damascus itself. 2 He is there in the midst 
of the enemies of his country. But the fame of his Prophetic 
power disarmed their hostility and led to his meeting with the 
predestined Ruler of whom he had heard years before from his 
master Elijah. It was, according to the local tradition, at 
Hobah, four miles from Damascus, that the interview took 
place. 3 The Prophet stood (so it is said) by the spot now 
marked as the grave of his exiled servant Gehazi. There he 
received the eager inquiry from the sick-bed of Benhadad : it 
Meeting was presented by Hazael, at the head of a train of 
withHazaei. f ort y came ls laden with the choicest gifts of Damas- 
cus. Nothing seemed too costly to win a favourable reply. 
What that reply was it is hard to say. Did the Prophet, accord- 
ing to one reading, deliver one unbroken message of death? 
Or did he, as seems more probable, but with changes of tone 4 
and voice, which we cannot now recover, deliver the double 
oracle, ' Go and say to him, Thou shalt live, thou shalt live ; 
1 but the Lord hath showed to me that he shall die, that he 
1 shall die ' ? There is something in the tortuous reply not 
inconsistent with the ambiguous answers of Elisha on other 
occasions. It is one of his contrasts with the blunt abruptness 
of Elijah. It may be that he spoke of the double issue at 
stake in the sick-chamber of the King, and in the courtier's 
mind. But other thoughts than those of Benhadad's death or 
life pressed in upon his soul. He gazed earnestly on Hazael's 
face ; saw his future elevation, and saw with it the calamities 
which that elevation would bring on his country. It is very 
rarely that the Prophets are overcome by their human emo- 
tions. They speak (and so Elisha did on this very occasion) as 
men speak who are constrained by some overruling power. But 

1 a Kings vi. 8-23. The mercy of seem of the older school (1 Kings xx. 35). 
Elisha is brought out the more forcibly * 2 Kings viii. 7-15. 

from its strong contrast with the fierce " See Smai ami Palestine, Chap. XII. 

■pint of a 11..: • Prophet, as it w iul ' See Thenius, ail loc. 

298 THE SYRIAN WARS. lect. xxxm. 

the evils which he now presaged were so awful, that the tears 
rushed into his eyes. It was the same foreboding of national 
calamity that had before expressed itself in his rebuke to Ge- 
hazi : ' Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, 

1 and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and men- 
' servants, and maidservants?' l Hazael himself stood astounded 
at the Prophet's message. He, insignificant as he seemed, a 

2 mere dog, to be raised to such lofty power and do such famous 
deeds ! But so it was to be. By his deed, or another's, the 
King died, not of his illness, but by an apparent accident in 
his bath ; and Hazael was at once raised to the throne of Syria. 
Under him Damascus again became a formidable power. He, 
in spite of his humble anticipation of himself, turned out to be 
all that the Prophet had foretold, — 'mighty and of great power.' 3 
He was worshipped almost with divine honours by his own 
countrymen even at the time of the Christian era. 4 The revo- 
lution which had called Jehu away from the siege of Ramoth- 
Gilead, and which had broken the alliance between the king- 
doms of Israel and Judah, opened the way for his invasion of 
Palestine. The Trans-Jordanic territory was laid waste, its 
strongholds burnt, its population massacred ; and through the 
reign of Jehu's successor, the fortunes of Israel were depressed 
yet lower. 

At last, the brighter day began to dawn. Already in the 
time of Jehoahaz there was a promise of a great deliverer. 5 In 
the days of Joash, Elisha himself foresaw the first turn of the 
fortune which he had so mournfully predicted. The last scene 
of his life showed how deeply the Syrian war coloured all his 
thoughts, as well as those of the King. When he was now 
struck with his mortal sickness, the young Joash came to 

1 2 Kings v. 26. murder of Abbas Pasba) ' and Hazael 

* It is a common error that Hazael ex- ' reigned in his stead.' But the answer to 

presses horror, in 2 Kings viii. 13, at Elisha has no reference to this. It is (not 

the commission of so great a crime. ' Is thy servant a dog,' i.e., ' so base as to 

Whether it was he who murdered Benha- ' do this ? ' but) ' Is thy slave, so insignifi- 

dad is itself doubtful. Whilst the general ' cant, a mere dog, worthy of such high 

drift tends to fix the act on Hazael, the im- 'elevation?' See Mr. Grove on Elisha 

mediate context rather implies that it was in Diet, of the Bible. 
the attendant : — 'He' — i.e. some name- * 2 Kings xii. 17, xiii. 3. 

less person about him— 'put the thick * Josephus, Ant. ix. 4, § 6. 

' mattrass on the King's face ' (as in the 5 2 Kings xiii. 4, 5. 

LEcr. xxxiil ELISHA AND JOASH. 299 

visit the aged seer who had placed his grandfather on the throne, 
and wept over his face, and lamented that he who had been his 
Meeting father, and who had been to him a defence against the 
with joash. chariots 1 and horsemen of Syria, was now to depart. 
The Prophet roused himself from his sick-bed, and bade the 
King take the bow — the favourite weapon of the chiefs of Israel 
— and then through the window open towards the eastern 
quarter, whence the hostile armies of Syria came, the youthful 
King, with the aged hands of Elisha planted on his hands, shot 2 
once, twice, thrice, upon the ground outside. The energy of 
the youth was not equal to the energy of the expiring Prophet. 
He ought to have gone on shooting till he had exhausted the 
quiver. It would have been a sign and pledge of the entire 
destruction of his enemies. But still the tide was turned. 
Thrice, according to the augury, was the victory gained on the 
scene of the former victory of Ahab, and the conquered terri- 
tory of Israel was reconquered ; and Joash was able to com- 
pare himself to the cedar of Lebanon, towering high above the 
thistles that grew, and above the wild beasts that wandered, 
under his shade. The battle of Beth-shemesh opened the way 
for him to Jerusalem itself, and alone of all the Kings of Israel 
he returned captor and plunderer of the chief city of the rival 
kingdom. 3 But this was not all. Elisha was now gone ; had 
he lived to see the successor of Joash, his dying wish would 
have been more than satisfied. The long-foretold deliverer at 
last arose, the greatest of all the Kings of Samaria. As if with 
a forecast of his future glory, he was named after the founder 
Jeroboam of the kingdom— Jeroboam II. We know little of 
IL Jeroboam's character or of his wars, except the re- 
sults. But the results were prodigious. The whole northern 
empire of Solomon was restored. Damascus was taken, and 
the dominion was once more extended northward to the 
remote Hamath at the source of the Orontes, 4 and south- 

1 See the paraphrase of Josephus, Ant. plained in various ways, i. formerly be- 

ix. 8, § 6. longing to Judah ; a. for Judah ; 3. read 

a So Josephus. Zobah (Ewald, iii. 562, comparing 2 Chr. 

3 2 Kings xiv. 8-15. viii. 3) ; 4. (as in the 9yriac and other 

* Ibid. 28 ; Amos vi. 14. ' Hamath, of versions) omit the word. 
' or/or Jud*k.' This last addition is ex- 

300 THE SYRIAN WARS. lect. xxxiii. 

ward to the valley of willows l which divided Moab from 

Edom belonged to Judah, but Moab had been long de- 
pendent on Israel, and had owned its subjection by paying 
Conquest immense herds of sheep and lambs as its annual 
of Moab. tribute to the northern kingdom. 2 It had broken 
through this custom after the death of Ahab ; and as the 
troubles of Israel went on increasing, Moabite troops had made 
yearly incursions into the Israelite territory, and finally settled 
north of the Arnon within the Israelite territory. It was this 
tract which Jeroboam reconquered ; and in regaining it, he 
seems to have poured in a host of Arab tribes who swept the 
rich land of Moab itself, and reduced it to entire submission. 
There was a dreadful record 3 handed down to after-times, 
which turns on the horrors of the night when Moab fell or was 
to fall before some mighty conqueror : ' In the night, Ar of 
' Moab is laid waste and brought to silence : in the night, Kir 
' of Moab is laid waste and brought to silence.' The high- 
places, the streets, the extreme borders of the country resound 
with howlings and wailings. ■ The women are huddled together 
' like frightened birds at the fords of the Arnon.' The vine- 
yards, and cornfields, and pastures are destroyed by heathen 
tribes. The Prophet, whoever he be, is moved to tender pity 
at the sight, and hopes that, in the old ancestral connexion 
with the house of David, Moab may yet not be too proud to 
seek a covert from the face of the spoiler. 

It may be that this is the very prophecy by which Jero- 
boam's empire was inaugurated, ' according to the word of the 
1 Lord, which He spoke by the hand of His servant 
' Jonah, the son of Amittai.' 4 This Prophet, who was 
to Jeroboam II. what Ahijah had been to Jeroboam I., and 
what Elisha had been to Jehu, though slightly mentioned in the 

1 Isa. xv. 7 ; perhaps also Amos vi. 14. further applies it to his time. Ewald 

3 2 Kings iii. 4. {Propheten, i. 231) believes it to be by a 

3 It is preserved both in Isaiah and Prophet of Judah, on account of xvi. 1-5. 

Jeremiah. That it is from an older pro- Still more probable is the conjecture of 

phet is distinctly stated by Isaiah (xvi. 13), Hitzig, identifying it with the prophecy of 

' This is the word that the Lord spoke Jonah mentioned in 2 Kings xiv. 25. 
' concerning Moab long ago. But now,' * 2 Kings xiv. 25. 

&c. ; and so Jeremiah (xlviii. 47) still 


history, has been already thrice brought before us in Jewish 
tradition, and conveys an instruction reaching far beyond his 
times. The child of the widow of Zarephath, the boy who 
attended Elijah to the wilderness, the youth who anointed 
Jehu, was believed to be the same as he whose story is related 
to us in the book of unknown authorship, of unknown date, of 
disputed meaning, 1 but of surpassing interest — the Book of 
Jonah. Putting aside all that is doubtful, it stands out of the 
history of those wars and conquests with a truthfulness to 
human nature and a loftiness of religious sentiment that more 
than vindicate its place in the Sacred Canon First look at the 
vivid touches of the narrative even in detail. We see the Pro- 
phet hasting down from the hills of Galilee to the one Israelite 
port of Joppa. He sinks into the deep sleep 2 of the wearied 
traveller as soon as he gets on board after his hurried journey. 
The storm rises ; the Tyrian sailors are all astir with terror and 
activity. They attack the unknown passenger with their 'brief 
'accumulated inquiries.' 'Why hath this happened to us? 
' What doest thou ? Whence art thou ? What is thy country? 
' Of what people art thou ? ' 3 The good seamen, heathens as 
they are, struggle against the dreadful necessity which Jonah 
puts before them. They row with a force that seems to dig up 
the waves under their efforts. But higher and higher, higher 
and higher, the sea surges against them, like a living creature 
gaping for its prey. The victim is at last thrown in, and its 
rage ceases. 4 This is the first deliverance, and it is the Divine 
blessing on the honest hearts and active hands of ' those that 
' go down to the sea in ships, and do their business in great 
' waters.' 

Then comes the unexpected rescue of the Prophet. He 
vanishes from view for three long days and nights. One of the 
huge monsters which are described in the Psalms 5 as always 
sporting in the strange sea, and which in the early Christian 

1 The Hebrew word translated 'And,' * Jonah i. 5 (Heb.) 

with which the book commences, indicates s All this is well brought out by Dr. 

a different origin from that of the earlier Pusey on Jonah, pp. 251. 252. 

Prophetical Books. It is elsewhere only * This is well given in Josephus (Ant. 

used at the commencement of the Books ix. 10, § 2). 

of Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Kings, s Psalm civ. 26- 
Ezekicl, Baruch, and Maccabees. 

302 THE SYRIAN WARS. user. xxxm. 

paintings is represented as a vast dragon, receives him into its 
capacious maw. His own hymn of thanksgiving succeeds. He 
seems to be in the depths of the unseen world ; the river of the 
ocean whirls him round in its vast eddies : the masses of sea- 
weed enwrap him as in grave-clothes ; the rocky roots of the 
mountains as they descend into the sea appear above him, as if 
closing the gates of earth against his return. 1 The mighty fish 
is but the transitory instrument. That on which the Prophet 
in his hymn lays stress is not the mode of his escape, but the 
escape itself. 2 

The third deliverance is that of Nineveh. The great city 
rises before us, most magnificent of all the capitals of the 
Repentance ancient world — 'great even unto God.' 3 It included 
of Nineveh. p ar k s an( j gardens, and fields, and people, and cattle, 
within its vast circumference. 4 Twenty miles the Prophet 
penetrates into the city. He has still finished only one- third 
of his journey through it. His utterance, like that of the wild 
preacher in the last days 5 of the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, is 
one piercing cry, from street to street and square to square. It 
reaches at last the King on his throne of state. The remorse 
for the wrong and robbery and violence of many generations is 
awakened. 6 The dumb animals are included, after the fashion 
of the East, in the universal mourning, and the Divine decree 
is revoked. 

1 Jonah ii. 3, 5, 6. little importance is attached to the particu- 
a Unless we have previously determined lars of the incident by the Sacred narra- 
the question, whether the Book of Jonah tive. Jonah's psalm of thanksgiving, 
is intended by the sacred writer to be a whilst it contains the most forcible de- 
literal history, or an apologue founded on scription of the escape from drowning by 
a history—and the example of the Books shipwreck, has no allusion to the more 
of Job and Tobit strongly leads to the marvellous escape from suffocation within 
latter supposition — ' tota h&c de pisce the belly of the fish. Whether the story 
' J once disquisitio,' as an old commentator be prosaic or poetical, it would be equally 
observes, ' vana videtur atque inutilis.' appropriate for the use made of it in Matt. 
The prosaic explanations divide themselves xii. 39; Luke xi. 29. Josephus {Ant. ix. 
into those of a strictly preternatural kind 10, § 2) speaks of the transaction as a 
—as that a fish was created for the occa- ' story ' (Aoyos). 
sion ; or into the natural or semi-natural 3 Jonah iii. 3 (Heb.). 
- as that it was a ship or an inn bearing * See Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, 
the sign of the whale ; or that it was a 640. 

shark. (For this last hypothesis, see all 5 See all this drawn out at length by 

that can be collected in Dr. Pusey's Com- Dr. Pusey on Jonah iii. The LXX. 

mentary on Jonah.) makes 9 instead of 40 days. 
It is more to the point to observe how " Nahum ii- 11, iii. 1. 

lect. xxxm. JONAH. 303 

Of this revocation, and of the lessons of the whole book, 
the concentrated force is contained in the closing scene. The 
Repentance Prophet sits in his rude hut outside the Eastern gate, 
of Jonah, under the shade of the broad leaves of the flowering 
shrub, 1 the rapid produce of the night. With the scorching 
blast of the early morning the luxuriant shelter withers away, 
and in his despairing faintness he receives the revelation of the 
Divine character, which is to him as that of the Burning Bush 
to Moses, or of the vision on Horeb to Elijah, and which sums 
up the whole of his own history. 

He has been shown to us as one of the older Prophetic 
school, denouncing, rebuking, moving to and fro, without fixed 
habitation, like Elijah, flying from kingdom to kingdom, as if 
on the wings of the wind. But both in his weaker and his 
stronger side he represents the rapid change which came over 
the Prophetic school of Israel at this epoch. In the wilder 
scope of his movements, and the mild and catholic spirit which 
pervades the whole tenor, if not of his teaching, at least of his 
history, we trace the same transitions that have been already 
remarked from the fierce and exclusive Elijah to the gentle and 
comprehensive Elisha. From west and east alike the curtain 
has in his life been rent asunder. On the one side we have 
embarked, for the first time in the Sacred history, on the stormy 
waters of the Mediterranean, in a ship bound for the distant 
Tarshish on the coast of Spain. On the other side, we traverse, 
for the first time, the vast desert, and find ourselves in the heart 
of the great Assyrian capital. Jonah is the first Apostle, though 
involuntary and unconscious, of the Gentiles. The inspiration 
of the Gentile world is acknowledged in the prophecy of 
Baalam, its nobleness in the Book of Job, its greatness in the 
reign of Solomon. But its distinct claims on the justice and 
mercy of God are first recognised in the Book of Jonah. It is 
the cry of the good heathen that causes the sea ' to cease from 
* her raging.' It is the penitence of the vast population of the 
heathen Nineveh that arouses the Divine pity even for the 
innocent children and the dumb, helpless cattle. 

And this lesson is still more forcibly brought out by contrast 

1 The Palma Christi, or castor-oil tre« 

304 THE SYRIAN WARS. lbct. xxxm. 

with the conduct of the Israelite Prophet, in whose timidity 
and selfishness is seen the same iegeneracy that has already 
marked the descent from Elisha to Gehazi. He, indeed, is 
delivered, but 'so as by fire.' The tables are turned against 
him with a sublime irony which almost anticipates the Gospel 
teaching of 'the first and the last,' 'the Pharisee and the 
1 Publican,' ' the elder and the younger son.' It is not in his 
strength, but his weakness, that the strength of that Divine 
message is perfected, through which a lesson is delivered to the 
Pastors of every age. In the Prophet's despondency, which 
swerves aside from the heavy duty imposed upon him, many a 
coward spirit that shrinks from the call of truth and duty starts 
to see its true likeness. In the return of the tempest-tossed 
soul, de profundis, to the task which has now become welcome 
— in the long-sustained effort to which at last he winds himself 
up, is the same encouragement that was needed even by an 
Apostle, — ' Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me ? ' Venio 
iterum Roma?n crucifigi. But most of all is the warning thrust 
home in the rebuke to the narrow selfishness which could 
lament over the withering of his own bower, and yet complain 
that the judgment had not been carried out against the penitent 
empire of Nineveh. ' More than sixscore thousand persons 
' that cannot discern between their right hand and their left,' 
the Prophet had desired to see sacrificed to his preconceived 
notions of the necessities of a logical theory, or to the destruction 
of his country's enemies. ' It displeased Jonah exceedingly, 
' and he was very angry. I pray Thee, was not this my saying 
' when I was yet in my country ? . . . Therefore take, I beseech 
' Thee, my life from me ; for it is better for me to die than to 
' live.' Better (so it has often been said by Jonah's successors) 
to die than that unbaptized infants should be saved — than that 
the reprobate should repent — than that God's threatenings 
should ever be revoked— than that the solemnity of life should 
be disturbed by the restoration of the thousands who have had 
no opportunity of knowing the Divine will — than that God 
should at last ' be all in all' He sate under the shadow of his 
booth, still hoping, believing for the worst, ' till he might see 
' what would become of the city.' 

user, xxxni. HIS CHARACTER. 305 

Most just was the application of this passage by an apostolic 
pastor to the harsh Calvinists of the last century : ' Get ye from 
1 under your parched gourd of " reprobation : " let not your 
1 eye be evil because God is good : nor fret, like Jonah, because 
* the Father of mercies extends His compassion even to all the 
' humbled heathen of the great city of Nineveh.' l And not to 
Calvinists only, but to all who would sacrifice the cause of 
humanity to some professional or theological difficulty is the 
startling truth addressed, ' Doest thou well to be angry ? God 
1 repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto 
1 them, and He did it not.' The foredoomed destruction of 
the wicked, the logical consistency of the Prophet's teaching, 
must go for nothing before the justice and ' the great kindness ' 
of God — before the claims even of the unconscious heathen 
children, of the repentant heathen king. Nineveh shall be 
spared, although the Prophet has declared that in forty days it 
shall be overthrown. 2 

In the scorching blast that beat upon the head of Jonah, 
when he ' fainted and wished himself to die,' and with a sharp 
cry repeated, in the pangs of his own destitution, what he had 
before murmured only as a theological difficulty, the Sacred 
narrative leaves him. In the popular traditions of East and 
West, Jonah's name alone has survived the Lesser Prophets of 
the Jewish Church. It still lives not only in many a Mussul- 
man tomb along the coasts and hills of Syria, but in the 
thoughts and devotions of Christendom. The marvellous 
escape from the deep, through a single passing allusion in the 
Gospel history, was made an emblem of the deliverance of 
Christ Himself from the jaws of death and the grave. 3 The 
great Christian doctrine of the boundless power of human 

1 Fletcher of Madeley (Essay oh Truth) with the context, which speaks (not of the 
in Sermons, ii. 552. deliverance, but) of the preaching, of 

2 How difficult it was even in the Jonah, nor with the facts of the case as 
Jewish Church to understand that a pre- recorded in the two (not three) days and 
diction could be frustrated, appears from nights of the Entombment, nor with the 
the consequences drawn in Tobit xiv. 4-8, corresponding passage of Luke (xi. 30). 
from Jonah's warning. On the other hand, But, even if (like Acts i. 18, 19, and Matt. 
for the true character of Prophetic teach- xxiii. 35) it is a later addition, it is an 
ing on which it is founded, see Lectures interpretation of unquestionable antiquity, 
XX., XL. and widely oUffused throughout the early 

1 Matt. xii. 40. The difficulty of this Church. 
Terse is well known. It neither agrees 
II. X 

306 HOUSE OF OMRI.— JONAH. user. xxxm. 

repentance received its chief illustration from the repentance l 
of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah. There is hardly 
any figure from the Old Testament which the early Christians 
in the Catacombs so often took as their consolation in perse- 
cution as the deliverance of Jonah on the seashore, and his 
naked form stretched out in the burning sun beneath the 
sheltering gourd. But these all conspire with the story itself 
in proclaiming that still wider lesson of which I have spoken. 
It is the rare protest of theology against the excess of theology 
— it is the faithful delineation, through all its various states, of 
the dark, sinister, selfish side of even great religious teachers. 
It is the grand Biblical appeal to the common instincts of 
humanity, and to the universal love of God, against the narrow 
dogmatism of sectarian polemics. There has never been a 
'generation ' which has not needed the majestic revelation of 
sternness and charity, each bestowed where most deserved and 
where least expected, in the ' sign of the Prophet Jonah.' 

1 Matt. xvi. 4, xii. 41 ; Luke xi. 30, 3a. 

user, xxxiv THE FALL OF SAMARIA. $0? 



The external glory of Israel was raised to its highest pitch by 
Jeroboam the Second ; but its internal condition already indi- 
cated its approaching dissolution. On that condition a sudden 
light is thrown from a new quarter. We have at last reached 
the point where the Prophetical spirit began to express itself, 
not only in action and speech, but in writing. It was in the 
kingdom of Judah that this development took place in its 
greatest force ; but it took its rise in the kingdom of Israel, in 
which, so long as it lasted, the Prophets found their chief home 
and their chief mission. Amos and Hosea both belong, by 
birth or by their sphere of action, to the northern kingdom. 
Some few glimpses, too, into the state of Israel are afforded 
by the great Isaiah, now just appearing as a young man in the 
neighbouring kingdom of Judah. 

It is from these several prophetic documents that we arrive 
at a knowledge of the state of society in Israel, such as we 
have not obtained of any period since the time of David. 
Their whole tone is so true to nature, so descriptive of the sins 
of actual States and Churches, that when the preacher, who of 
all perhaps in modern times has most nearly resembled an 
ancient Prophet, wished to denounce the sins of Florence, he 
used the Prophets of this period as his textbook. Savonarola's 
sermons on Amos are almost like Amos himself come to life 

The foreign civilisation of the House of Omri — the long 
depravation of the public worship from the time of Jeroboam 
the First — had produced their natural effect amongst the 

x 2 

308- THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lect. xxxiv. 

higher classes of society. One of the most widely-spread 
Moral state y i ces was drunkenness in its most revolting forms, 
of Samaria. < wine and new wine take away the heart. ' 1 'In the 
' day of our King the princes have made him sick with skins of 
' wine. ' 2 This was the canker in the beauty of the most 
glorious scene in Palestine — the luxuriant vale of Shechem, 
and the green hill of Samaria. 3 The gross intoxication of the 
Israelite nobles and priests almost resembles that which un- 
happily prevailed amongst the English aristocracy and clergy 
in the last century. It extended even to the most sacred 
functionaries : ' They have erred through wine, and through 
1 strong drink are gone out of the way ; the priest and the 
1 prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed 
1 up by wine, they are out of the way through strong drink ; 
' they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment ; for all 
1 tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no 
1 place clean. ' 4 Even the monastic Nazarites were either 
required or forced against their vow to drink the forbidden 
wine. 5 Great ladies, who are compared to the fat cows or 
heifers of Bashan, that feed on the rich mountains of Samaria, 
say to their lords, ' Bring, and let us drink.' 6 Out of this 
terrible vice sprang a brood of other yet more desolating sins 
—licentiousness 7 in all its forms ; oppression of the poor ; 
self-indulgent luxury • robbery and murder. To the eye of 
the Prophet ' these it was, and nothing else, which he saw, 
' wherever he looked, whatever he heard, — swearing, lying, 
1 killing, stealing, adultery,' one stream of blood meeting 
another, 'till they joined in one wide inundation.' 8 Many of 
the details are preserved to us. Innocent debtors were bought 
and sold as slaves, even for the sake of possessing a pair of 
costly sandals. The very dust which they threw on their heads 
as a sign of mourning was grudged to them. The large cloaks 
which were their only wrappers were used for the couches of 
the hard-hearted 9 creditors. Strict as was still the profession 

1 Hosea iv. n. a Ibid. vii. 5. s Ibid. iv. 1 (Pusey). 

* Isaiah xxviii. 1. ' Woe to the crown » Hosea iv. 13, vii. 4 ; Amos ii. 7. 
of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim.' • Hosea iv. 1, 2 (Pusey). 

4 Ibid. 7, 8. • Amos ii. 6, 7, viii. 5, 6 (Pu*«y). 

* Amos ii. 8, 12 (Pusey). 


of religion— holy days, offerings, tithes, sabbaths faithfully 
observed, 1 — Priests, Prophets, Nazarites highly honoured 2 — 
sacred ephod and image duly 3 reverenced — yet even in the 
very Temple of Bethel the luxurious listless revelry was carried 4 
on ; pilgrims coming to the sacred places of Mizpeh and 
Gilead beyond the Jordan, or to Tabor and Shechem, in the 
heart of the kingdom, were attacked by bands of robbers, 
often headed by the Priests themselves. 5 Even the 'Jewish' 
craft, as we deem it in modern times, appeared in the 
readiness with which religious festivals were pressed into the 
service of hard bargains. The calf was still worshipped, as 
the sign of the True God, 6 at Dan and Bethel, but the 
darker idolatries of Phoenicia, authorised there also under 
Ahab, had been never entirely uprooted. The Temple of 
Ashtaroth still remained in Samaria. 7 Baal was a familiar 
name throughout the country. 8 Licentious rites were prac- 
tised in the groves and on the hill-tops. 9 The ancient 
sanctuary of Gilgal was at once a seat of constant pilgrimage, 
surrounded by altars, and yet also a centre of widespread 
heathen abominations. 10 

As the rise of the House of Jehu had been ushered in by 
Prophetic voices, so was its doom. As in the struggles of the 
earlier Jeroboam, so in the splendour of the second Jeroboam, 
a Prophet from Judah came to denounce the crimes of Israel. 
He was of no Prophetic school, with no regular Prophetic 
gifts ll — one of the shepherds who frequented the wild uplands 
near Tekoa, and who combined with his pastoral life the care 
of the sycamores in the neighbouring gardens. He 
was, as has been well ,2 said, ■ a child of nature.' The 
imagery of his visions is full of his country life, whether in 
Judaea or Ephraim. The locusts in the royal meadows, the 
basket of fruit, vineyards and fig-trees, the herds of cows 
rushing heedlessly along the hills of Samaria, the shepherds 

1 Hosea ii. it, viii. 13 ; Amos iv. 4, v. * Hosea ii. 8-17, xi. 2. 
ti-«3. • Ibid. iv. 13. 

2 Amos ii. 11. * Hoseaiii. 4 (Ewald). ,0 Ibid. iv. 15, ix. 15, xii. 11; Amos 
4 Amos ii. 8. s Hosea v. 1, vi. 8, 9. iv. 4. 

* Ibid. viii. 5, 6, x. 5, xiii. u Amos i. 1, vii. 14, 15. 

1 a Kings xiii. 6. u Dr. Pusey on Amos, pp. 151, 153. 

310 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lect. xxxiv. 

fighting with the lions for their prey, the lion and the bear, the 
heavy-laden waggon, the sifting of corn — these are his figures. 
He was not a poet so much as an orator. His addresses are 
poetical, not from rhythm, but from the sheer force and pathos 
of his diction. He appears on the hill of l Samaria to denounce 
the luxurious nobles. He appears in the very sanctuary of 
Bethel, like Iddo, to 2 predict the violent death of the royal 
house, if not of the King, — the fall of the kingdom, the fall of 
the sacred altar. It was not now, as formerly, the King who 
confronted the Prophet. It was the chief-priest Amaziah, who 
sent to the King to inform him of the new-comer, and himself 
warned him off the sacred and royal precincts. He was living 
there with his wife, his sons and his daughters, and on them 
Amos turned the curse which he had before called down on 
the nation. Such an apparition may well have roused the 
anger and alarm of the easy revellers ' who put far away 3 the 
1 evil day.' ' The land could not bear ' 4 those piercing moral 
invectives — that cry then first uttered, a hundred times repeated 
since, ' Prepare to meet thy God.' 5 Whether or not we attach 
any credence to the tradition that he was beaten and wounded 
by the indignant hierarchy of Bethel, and carried back half- 
dead to his native place, it is the fate which such a rough 
plain-spoken preacher would naturally invite, and it would 
almost seem as if faint allusions to it transpire in more than 
one place in the New Testament. 6 Well had he said, in the 
bitterness of his heart, ' The prudent shall keep silence in that 
c time, for it is an evil time.' 7 

The calamities which Amos described or invoked, gathered 

fast over the devoted kingdom. The great physical disasters, 

which we shall have to consider more at length in 

their relation to Judah, had also extended to Israel. 

The visitation of locusts, which passed over the south, also 

1 Amos iv. i, iii. 9 (Pusey, p. 148). 3 Ibid. vi. 3. 

2 Ibid. vi. 14, vii. 9, viii. 3, ix. 1. * Ibid. vii. 10. 
Whether the words in vii. 10-11 are re- s Ibid. iv. 12. 

presented as having been spoken by Amos, " Pseudo-Epiphanius, Vit. Proph. u. 

or only put into his mouth by Amaziah, is 145 (Pusey, 150). Compare Heb. xi. 35; 

uncertain. It is more in accordance with Matt. xxi. 35. 
the style of the Sacred Books to suppose 7 Amos v. 13. 

the former. 

iMct. xxxtv. ASSYRIA. 311 

reached to the gaidens and vineyards, the fig-trees and olive- 
trees of Samaria. l Their corn and wine 2 failed j 
blasting and mildew smote 3 them ; drought and 
famine fell upon them. Rain was withholden in the early 
spring, or fell partially only on one city j so that the inhabi- 
tants of two or three cities crowded to one for the sake of 
water. 4 The pastures of the shepherds were dried up, and 
the woods of Carmel withered. 5 The plague, so common in 
Egypt, so rare in Palestine, sprang up, amidst the 
festering carcases (whether as cause or effect) of the 
dead men and dead horses which lay around as after a terrible 6 
carnage. The celebrated earthquake which shook 
' the Temple of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives 
in the reign of Uzziah was heard and felt throughout Pales- 
tine. The Temple at Bethel, like the Temple at Jerusalem, 
with its altar and its pillars, the ivory palaces of Jezreel and 
Samaria, * are smitten,' 'shake,' 'fall,' and 'perish, and come 
' to an end.' 7 There were three nearly total eclipses during 
this period. One of these was visible in Palestine, in the 
year B.C. 771, on the 8th of November, at five minutes be- 
fore one p.m. 8 This may have been sufficient to have at- 
tracted the attention of the Prophet : ' I will cause the sun 
' to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear 
'day.' 9 

But these were forerunners of a still more fearful calamity. 
Now, for the first time, appeared on the Eastern horizon that 
Rise of great power which for a hundred years was the 
Assyria. scourge of Asia. The ancient empire of Assyria, 
possibly repressed for a time by the dominion of Solomon, 
rose on its fall, and was henceforth intermingled with all the 
good and evil fortunes of the kingdom of Israel. Already in 
the reign of Jehu her influence began to be felt. His name is 
to be read on the black obelisk which records the tributes 
offered to Shalmaneser I. in the form of gold and silver, and 

1 Amos iv. 6. a Hosea ii. 9, vii. 14. " The exact calculation I owe to my 

3 Amos iv. 9. * Ibid. 7, 8. friend Professor Donkin. The possibility 

* Ibid. i. 2. * Ibid. iv. 10. of the allusion had bean already noticed by 

7 Ibid. iii. 14, 15, ix. 1. See Lecture Archbishop Ussher. 

XXXVII. • Amos viii. 9. 

312 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lac*, xxxit. 

articles manufactured in gold. 1 The destruction of Damascus 
by Jeroboam II. brought the two powers of Israel and Assyria 
into close contact ; there was now no intervening kingdom to 
act as a breakwater. Long before its actual irruption, the rise 
of the new power is noted by the Prophets. Jonah had already 
traversed the desert, and seen 'that great Nineveh.' Amos 
had already, though without naming it, foretold that a people 
should arise which should crush the powerful empire of 
Jeroboam from end to end, and see the nations one by one 
swept into captivity. 2 Hosea brings out the danger more 
definitely, sometimes naming it, sometimes speaking of it only 
under the form of the ' contentious king.' 3 The wakeful ear 
of Isaiah catches the sound of the irresistible advance of the 
Assyrian armies ; their savage warfare, their strange language, 
the speed of their march, their indefatigable energy, 'their 
' arrows sharp, their bows bent, their horses' hoofs like flint, 
1 and their chariots like a whirlwind. ' 4 

In the midst of these dark misfortunes and darker terrors, 
V 4 e dynasty of Jehu came to its end. The curse of Amos was 
«'..-. fulfilled, though not on the King himself. The great 

End of the ' ft . ° , • , • , 

House of Jeroboam died in peace, and was buried in royal 
state. But his son was the last regular occupant of 
the throne of Israel. There was, as it would seem, a revel 
prepared for him by the nobles. They were kept up to the 
mark as of a burning fever by some one powerful plotter, who 
is compared to a baker heating and stirring the oven. They 
drug the unhappy prince with wine till he is sick with drunken- 
ness, and joins freely in their debauchery. Then in the morning 
the conspiracy breaks out, and the King is slain. 5 The year of 
Zachariah's death was probably the year of the great 
eclipse already mentioned. The time at which he died 
was known as 'that in which the kings fell,' 6 and apparently 
also as the month in which ' the three shepherds were smitten.' 7 
From that moment the kingdom was occupied by a rapid 

1 Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p. maintained by Ewald, Gesch. iii. 303. 
613; see Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies, 3 Hosea v. 13, x. 6. 

ii. p. 365. 4 Isa. v. 26-30. 

■ Amosi . 2-15, vi. 14, vii. 17, ix. 7-10. * Hosea vii. 5-7 (Pusey). 

That these are distinct predictions is 6 Ibid. 7. * Zech. xL %. 


s ccession of fierce soldiers, who reigned for the next fifty 
years, leaving little but their names behind. The 'military 
' despotism,' which had characterised the kingdom of Israel 
more or less even from the time of Saul, now held unbridled 
and undivided sway. Zachariah was, it would seem, succeeded 
by a king whose very name is almost lost to us, 1 Kobolam, and 
Kobolam was succeeded by Shallum. The troubled monarchy 
settled down for a time under Menahem and his son Pekahiah, 
till he too perished, in the midst of his harem, by the hand of 
Pekah. 2 By this time the Assyrian conquerors broke upon 
the country : and the struggles of the various states of Western 
Asia, in their agony to escape from this overwhelming enemy, 
became more and more complicated, as the danger drew nearer 
and nearer. 

In the presence of this threatened destruction, the long 
feud between Israel and Damascus was reconciled. An ad- 
venturer who had placed himself on the throne of 
°' Syria combined with Pekah to defend themselves 
against Assyria by attacking Judah. 3 The effect of this alliance, 
as regards the kingdom of Israel, was but to hasten its doom. 
In a few short years 4 it was broken up. Tiglath-Pileser, the 
Assyrian king, whose predecessor, Pul, 5 had been satisfied with 
tribute from Menahem, descended upon the allied kingdoms. 
The kingdom of 6 Damascus was now finally extinguished, 
and its inhabitants carried off to Kir, 7 an unknown Eastern 
spot, the cradle, and now the grave, of that proud Aramaic 

And now the first great rent was made in the kingdom of 

Fail of the I srae l- The Trans-Jordanic tribes had long hung 

Trans-jor- but loosely on its skirts. Uzziah, King of Judah, 

had of late acquired royal pasturages in the downs 8 

of Gilead. But now they were to lose even this protection. We 

' 2 Kings xv. 10 (LXX. and Ewald, of a new dynasty {ibid. ii. 393). 
iti. 598). * This is mentioned in Tiglath-Pile- 

2 2 Kings xv. 13, 25. ser's inscriptions (Rawlinson, ii. 398). 

1 Ibid. xvi. 5 ; 2 Chr. xxviii. 5, 6. 7 2 Kings xvi. 9 ; Amos i. 5 ; and see 

* Isa. vii. 16. Isa. vii. 1, 2 ; 1 Chr. v. 26 ; Hosea x. 7 ; 

8 Pul cannot be exactly identified Zech. ix. 1. 
(Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, ii. 387). * 2 Chr. xxvi. 10 ("the plain*,' Heb, 

Tiglath-Pileser II. seems to be the founder mishor). 

3 14 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lect. xxxiv. 

see little of their last expiring struggles. But their wild history 
ends, as it had begun, in bloodshed and violence : ' Gilead was 
' a city of evil-doers, polluted with blood.' l Now for the first 
time, just in the very crisis of their own fate, they were in pos- 
session of the throne. Menahem and Pekahiah were, perhaps, 
from the tribe of Gad, and they carried with them the savage 2 
customs which they had learned, especially from the ferocious 
wars of Syria and Ammon, in their own Trans-Jordanic dis- 
tricts. Pekah, who overthrew this dynasty, was himself also 
probably from the same region. At least, his fifty companions 
in the conspiracy were from 3 Gilead, and two of them bore 
names which carry us back to the earliest days of those pastoral 
regions : Argob, from the fastness of Bashan — Arieh, ' the 
1 Lionlike,' from those Gadite chiefs of old, whose faces 'were 
' as the faces of lions M — remnants, it may be, of the original 
guards of David. 5 Of one or other of these pastoral kings, 
the unknown Prophet, whose flickering light alone guides us 
through these stormy times, speaks as of the careless and 
rapacious shepherd who neglects the flock, and grasps only 
at the flesh of the fat. 6 Of one or other too, as the fall of 
the dynasty approaches, he bursts forth into the cry which 
afterwards became proverbial, but which had a peculiar fit- 
ness to those nomadic chiefs : ' Awake, O sword, against My 
' shepherd . . . smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be 
'scattered.' 7 

Nothing now intervened to save from the destroying armies 
those outlying portions of the dominions of Israel. The gates 
of Lebanon were thrown wide open— the forests of Bashan 
howled in their anguish, as the destroyer swept through them, 
and their cry of distress was echoed back by the shepherds in 
their open glades, and by the lions startled in their lairs down 
in the deep recesses of the Jordan valley. 8 

Then fell the grievous affliction on 'the land of Zebulun 
' and the land of Naphthali,' ' the Sea of Galilee and beyond 
' Jordan ' 9 — a darkness only to be lit up by a distant gleam, 

1 Hos. vi. 8. 

2 2 Kings xv. 16. Compare ibid. viii. 
12 ; i Sam. xi. 2 ; Amos. i. 13. 

3 2 Kings xv. 25. 

1 Chr. xii. 8. 

5 Ibid. xxvi. 31, 32. 

Zech. xi. 16. 

* Ibid. xiii. 7, 

Ibid. xi. 1-3. 

• Isa. ix. 1. 

user, xxxiv. HOSHEA. 315 

seen far off by Prophetic eyes. Then the hostile Ammonites, 
long warded off, rushed into the vacant space, and the cry 
went up: 'Hath Israel no sons? Hath he no heir? Why 
1 doth Molech inherit Gad. and his people dwell in his cities ? ' ■ 
1 Feed them,' — so the last reminiscence of their pastoral state 
expresses itself — ' feed them ; guide them like a flock of their 
' own sheep, in Bashan and in Gilead, as in the days of 
'old.' 2 

Pekah was now left with a mere fragment of the ancient 
kingdom. With that terrible succession of royal murders, so 
forcibly described as ' blood touching blood,' 3 he fell before a 
4 conspiracy, a band of conspirators, of whom the chief, Hoshea, 
formerly one of his own 5 adherents, mounted the throne. Rival 
factions, like those which divided Jerusalem in its last 
siege, troubled also the last days of Samaria : the old 
feud between Ephraim and Manasseh, which had in the time of 
Jephthah given birth to the symbol of all party watchwords, 
broke out afresh — Ephraim devoured Manasseh, and Manasseh 
devoured Ephraim. 6 

Better than his predecessors 7 — like Josiah, in like case, in 
Judah — Hoshea came too late to redeem the fortunes of his 
country. At first the vassal of Assyria, he took ad- 
vantage of the Tyrian war to throw off Shalmaneser's 
yoke, and began that system of alliances with Egypt, 8 which 
from that time forward was the last desperate resource of the 
nations of Western Asia against the encroachments of Assyria. 
It might have seemed as if the old alliance with Egypt, which 
had set the founder of the northern kingdom on his throne, 
would support his last successor. But it was too late. Sargon, 9 
the Assyrian king or general, descended on the country. Ho- 
shea was carried off as a hostage for the payment of the tribute. 10 

1 Jer. xlix. i. a Micah vii. 14. ii. 401). For the Tyrian war, see Ewald, 

3 Hosea iv. 2. * 2 Kings xv. 30. iii. 608. 

* Joseph. Ant. ix. 13, §1. * Not Shalmaneser (who is not expressly 

• See Lecture XVI. Isa. ix. 20, ax. mentioned ; see 2 Kings xvii. 6, xviii. 10) 
7 2 Kings xvii. 2 but Sargon, whose name occurs in Isa. xx. 
" Ibid. 4. Shalmaneser is an ancient 1, and in the Assyrian inscriptions, and is 

Assyrian title, but no such name occurs in supposed to be a founder of a new dynasty 

the inscriptions of this epoch. It is found, (Rawlinson, ii. 408). 
however, in the Tyrian history of Menan- '" 2 Ki :-, xvii. 4 

tier (Joseph. Ant. ix. 14, § 2 ; Rawlinson, 

316 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lbct. xxxiv. 

It was a suaaen disappearance, ' like foam upon the water.' l 
Then the Assyrian armies poured into the country. 2 

A struggle took place in Galilee — perhaps in the fatal field 
of Jezreel, 3 perhaps in the deep glen of Betharbel, 4 where, as 
Capture of afterwards in the time of Josephus, the Israelite popu- 
Samaria. lation took refuge in the caves in the precipitous cliffs, 
and mothers and children were dashed down to the valley 
beneath. The siege of Samaria followed. Without their king, 
the people stood at bay for three years, as in the final 
siege of Jerusalem. As the end drew near, they gave 
themselves up to the frantic re veilings of despair. 5 At last the 
city was stormed. With the ferocity common to all the warfare 
of those times, the infants were hurled down the rocky sides 
of the hill on which the city stood, or destroyed in their mothers' 
bosoms. 6 Famine and pestilence completed the work of 
war. 7 The stones of the ruined city were poured down into 
the rich valley below, and the foundations were laid bare. 8 
Palace and hovel alike fell ; 9 the statues were broken to 
pieces ; 10 the crown of pride, the glory of Ephraim, was 
trodden under foot. 11 

In the midst of this wild catastrophe, the voices of the 
Prophets rise, alternately in lamentation and consolation. 
From the Prophets of Israel — from the seven thousand of 
Elijah's vision — two voices especially make themselves heard 
above the rest. One is the author of the 8oth Psalm. 12 The 
Divine protection is invoked under the figure that the unknown 
Prophet of the period has so often used : ' O Thou that art the 
1 Shepherd of Israel, give ear ; Thou that leadest Joseph like a 
' sheep.' 13 There is no mention of Judah— only the days are 
recalled in which the Ark marched 14 in the wilderness before 
the three great kindred 'tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin and 

1 Hosea x. 7. 2 2 Kings xvii. 5. s Isa. xxvii. 1-6. 

3 Hosea i. 5. e Hosea x. 14, xiii. 16 

* Ibid. x. 14. See Newman's Hebrew 7 Amos vi. 9. 10. 

Monarchy, 273. Compare Josephus, B.J. ' Micah i. 6. • Amos vi. 11. 

i. 16 ; Dr. Pusey supposes it to be Arbela, ,0 Micah i. 7. " Isa. xxviii. 3. 

in the plain of Esdraelon ; but the expres- ia See Hengstenberg on Ps. lxxx. The 

iions rather point to a fastness. The LXX. calls it vwep tov 'Ao-avpLov. 
LXX. reads ' the house of Jeroboam '—the ' 3 Ps. lxxx. 1. Compare Zcch. xi. 3, 5, 

Vulgate, ' the house of Jerubbaal ' 8, 15, 16 ; xiii. 7. 
(Gideon). '* Compare Num. ii. 18-24. 


1 Manasseh? That goodly vine of the house of Joseph, which 
hung ' over the valley of Shechem, which had been twice 2 
brought over from Egypt — which cast its shade on the mountains 
of Gerizim, and spread its branches to the sea, visible from those 
very heights, and its boughs across the Jordan to the distant 
Euphrates — was now trodden down. The wild Assyrian boar 
had trampled it under foot ; it was burnt with fire : ' O God 
' of hosts, turn and visit this vine, which Thy right hand 
1 hath planted, the branch that Thou madest so strong for 
1 Thyself.' Often has this Psalm ministered to the encourage- 
ment of broken 3 hopes, but never so fitly as in this its first 

The Prophet Hosea is the only individual character that 
stands out amidst the darkness of this period — the Jeremiah, as 
he may be called, of Israel. His life had extended over nearly 

the whole of the last century of the northern kingdom. 

In early youth, whilst the great Jeroboam was still on 
the throne, he had been called to the Prophetic office. In his 
own personal history, he shared in the misery brought on his 
country by the profligacy of the age. In early youth he had 
been united in marriage with a woman who had fallen into the 
vices which surrounded her. He had loved her with a tender 
love : she had borne to him two sons and a daughter ; she had 
then deserted him, wandered from her home, fallen again into 
wild licentiousness, and been carried off as a slave. From this 
wretched state, with all the tenderness of his nature, he bought 
her, and gave her one more chance of recovery by living with 
him, though apart. 4 No one who has observed the manner in 
which individual experience often colours the general religious 
doctrines of a gifted teacher, can be surprised at the close con- 
nexion which exists between the life of Hosea and the mission 
to which he was called. In his own grief for his own great 
calamity — the greatest that can befall a tender human soul — he 
was taught to feel for the Divine grief over the lost opportunities 

1 For tht vine as symbolical of Joseph, Fleming, founder of Lincoln College, 

comp. Gen. xlix. 22, Ezek. xix. 10. Oxford. 

' Josh. xxiv. 32 : 1 Kings xii. 2. * Hosea i. 3, iii. 1 (Ewald ; Pusey ; and 

1 As applied by Gundulph of Rochester; see Professor Plumptre's poem on Gem**). 

3l8 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lect. xxxiy. 

of the nation once so full of hope. It is, as it has been beauti- 
fully described, a succession of sighs, — a Prophetic voice from 
the depth of human misery : ' The words of upbraiding, of judg- 
' ment, of woe, burst out one by one, slowly, heavily, condensed, 
1 abrupt, from the Prophet's heavy and shrinking soul, ... as 
1 though each sentence burst with a groan from his heart, and 
' he had anew to take breath, before he uttered each repeated 
* woe. Each verse forms a whole for itself, like one heavy toll 
1 in a funeral knell.' 1 But in his own love no less he was 
taught to see, first of any of the Prophets of the Old Dispensa- 
tion, the power of the forgiving love of God. Even the names 
of his children were intended to signify — one, the condemna- 
tion of Jehu's massacres ; the two others, the extension of the 
Holy Land and the Divine mercy, beyond the 2 limits of Israel. 
' Come, and let us return unto the Lord, for He hath torn 
1 and will heal us, hath smitten and will bind us up. After two 
' days He will revive us ; on the third day, He will raise us up, 
' and we shall live in His sight.' 3 He goes back to the early 
history of his own northern tribes when they were still loved as 
children 4 — fresh from Egypt — taken by their little arms, all un- 
conscious — drawn ' with the cords of a man, with bands of love.' 
Then comes the burst of sorrow over their fall : ' How shall I 
1 give thee up, O Ephraim ! how shall I deliver thee, O Israel ! 
' how shall I make thee as Admah ! how shall I set thee as 
' Zeboim ! Mine heart is turned within Me, My strong com- 
1 passions are kindled. I will not execute the fierceness of My 
1 anger ; I will not return to destroy Ephraim ; for I am God, 
1 and not man ; the Holy One in the midst of thee.' Even 
from the grave the dead nation shall start to life. It shall 
blossom and burgeon with all the prodigality of the rich vege- 
tation of its northern forests ; like the gorgeous lilies of Galilee, 
like the cedars of Lebanon, with their gnarled roots, and spread- 
ing branches, and delicious fragrance. 5 Ephraim shall say, 
' What have I to do any more there with idols ? ' And the 
Divine answer shall be, ' / have heard him and observed him. ' 

1 Dr. Pusey on Hosea, p. 5. * Ibid. vi. 1-4. 

■ Hosea i. 4, 6, ii. 1. * Ibid. xi. 1-4 (LXX.). 

5 Ibid. xiv. 4-8. 

lrct. xxxiv. JEREMIAH. 319 

Ephraim shall say, ' I am like a green cypress tree.' And the 
answer shall be, ' From Me is thy fruit found.' 

From Judah, these strains are echoed, more faintly, but 

still distinctly enough to show that the anguish of the rent was 

felt there also. The Prophet Jeremiah is not so lost 

Jeremiah. . . 

in the misfortunes of Jerusalem, but that he has an 
ear for the earlier fall of Israel. He hears a voice from the 
confines of Benjamin, from the height of Ramah, lamentation 
and bitter weeping. It is Rachel, the mother of the three 
mighty tribes of the north, the house of Joseph and the house 
of Benjamin ; weeping as she looks over the desolate country, 
weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted because 
they are not. He bids her wipe away her tears, ' for there is 
1 hope in thine end, that thy children shall come again into 
1 their own border.' ' He hears a bemoaning, a plaintive lowing 
as of a powerful beast struggling with his captors. It is Ephraim, 
the mighty bull of the northern tribes : ' Thou hast chastised me 
1 and I was chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. 
1 Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned, for Thou art the Lord 
* my God.' And to the haughty Son no less than to the mourn- 
ful Mother, there is a tender reply : ' Is Ephraim My dear son ? 
'is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do 
' earnestly remember him still ; therefore My heart is troubled 
1 for him; I will surely have mercy upon him.' And to the 
Prophet's vision, the valleys of Samaria and Shechem again are 
clothed with vineyards, and resound with ' tabrets and the 
' dances of them that make merry,' 'old and young together.' 2 

The hope of Jeremiah and of Hosea, like many others of 
the lofty hopes of the world and of the Church, has been ful- 
filled rather in the spirit than in the letter. In spite of these 
predictions, ' the ten tribes were never restored : they never, as 
1 a whole, received any favour from God after they went into 
1 captivity.' 3 Many seem to have fled into Egypt, which, though 
unable to help the falling kingdom, received its fugitives. 4 
But of this migration we have no particulars. The general 

' Compare Jer. ii.-iii. 5, 1, 17-20, * Dr. Pusey on Hosea vi. s. 

xxxi. 15-17 ; Ezek. xix., xxxvii. 15-20. * Isa. xi. IS, &c. 

1 Jer. xxxi. 18-20 ; compare 4, 5, 13. 

320 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lzct. xxxiy. 

history of the tribes divides itself henceforward into two unequal 

The main body of the inhabitants were transplanted to the 
remotest provinces of the Assyrian empire. 1 The first genera- 
Exiies in tlon °f tne exiles lived to see the fall of their conquerors. 
Assyria. The suddenness, the totality of the ruin of Nineveh 
has been preserved from oblivion chiefly through the predictions 
or the description of Nahum the Elkoshite. He was, we can 
hardly doubt, the last of the great series of Israelitish 

Nahum. , , , ,,.,.,, 

Prophets, whether we suppose that his birthplace was 
in Galilee, or the Assyrian village of that name ; whether we 
suppose that he was amongst the captives in Assyria, or had 
taken refuge in Judah. There is something pathetic in the 
thought that the crash of these mighty cities, Thebes in the far 
south and Nineveh in the far east, is known to us only through 
the triumphant cry of this solitary exile. It is one sustained 
shout of wild exultation that the oppressor has fallen at last 
The naked discrowned corpse of the glorious city is cast out 
to the scorn and disgust of the world. No spark of pity min- 
gles with the Prophet's delight. ' All that hear the report of 
' thee shall clap their hands at thee, for upon whom did not 
' thy wickedness continually pass? r The lion's lair is at last 
laid waste where the lion, and the lioness, and the lion's whelp 
once walked without fear. 2 In this storm of indignation and 
vengeance, the spirit of Prophecy in the northern kingdom 
breathes its last. Under this doom, Nineveh vanishes from 
view, to be no more seen till in our day the discovery of her 
buried remains has given new life to the whole of this portion 
of Sacred history, and not least to the magnificent dirge of Na- 
hum. Of him we know no more. 3 Tradition rejoices to trace 
to his influence the rise of the great Zoroaster. His reputed 
tomb hard by the ruins of Nineveh is still visited by hundreds 
of Christian and Jewish 4 pilgrims. 

But side by side with this stern representative of the fire 
and energy of Elijah lingers a faint trace of the tender scenes 

1 See the special localities discussed in Prophecy is the allusion to the fall of 

Ewald, iii. 613. Thebes (ii. 8), probably about B.C. 712. 
3 Nahum ii. 12, iii. 5, 19. * Layard's Nineveh, i. 233 ; Ewald, 

s The only indication of time in the iii. 690, 

LBCT. xxxiv. TOBIT. 321 

of the Galilean valleys, of the milder spirit of Elisha and Hosea, 
The book of Tobit is, doubtless, of far later date in the history 
than the point at which we are now arrived, and it 
hardly pretends to be more than a religious historical 
fiction. But it was reckoned amongst the Prophetical books 
by Nestorius, and amongst the books of inspired Scripture by 
the Homilies of the English Church ; was the especial admir- 
ation of Luther, and has often consoled the Christian sufferer 
by the same topics that cheered the griefs of the Israelite cap- 
tive. Its doctrines and details must be reserved to the time 
when it came into existence. But its portraiture of the domes- 
tic life of the exiles, the exultation at the connexion of Tobit's 
house with the great sanctuary of Kedesh Naphtali, 1 the 
longing regard for their own country and ' the rejoicing ' over the 
fall of Nineveh — carry us back to the age in which the story is 
laid, amongst the funerals and wedding-feasts, and parental anxie- 
ties, and cousinly loves, and the patriotic philanthropy of the 
' good ' father of the ' good ' son, in the first generation of 
Israelite captives. 2 

After this it is difficult to discover any distinct trace of the 
northern tribes. Some returned with their countrymen to the 
southern kingdom. 3 In the New Testament there is special 
mention of the tribe of Asher, 4 and the ten tribes generally are on 
three 5 emphatic occasions ranked with the others. The immense 
Jewish population which made Babylonia a second Palestine 
was in part derived from them ; and the Jewish customs that 
have been discovered in the Nestorian Christians, with the 
traditions of the sect itself, may indicate at any rate a mixture 
of Jewish descent. That they are concealed in some unknown 
region of the earth is a fable 6 with no foundation either in 
history or prophecy. 

There is, however, another doubtful remnant of the northern 
kingdom, which has clung to its original seat with a tenacity 

1 The Patriarch of the Nestorians pro- xxxi. 37, I. 17-20. 
fesses in like manner to be of the tribe of " Luke ii. 36. 

Naphtali. * James i. 1 ; Acts xxvi. 7 ; Rev. vii. 

1 Tobit, Tobias. Tob- ' good ; ' Ewald, 5-8. 
iv. 234. ' See Dean Mil man's///*/ ofthejewt, 

3 See Jer. ii.-iii. 14, 15 ; xxiii., xxx.- ?rd edit. i. 375. 


322 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. lect. xxxiv. 

exceeding even that of the tribe of Judah itself. The full history 
of the Samaritan sect belongs to a later period. But its origin 
The Samari- dates from the first moment of desolation. Then took 
tan sect. place that union, in whatever proportions it may have 
been, between the remnant of the old Israelite ! inhabitants and 
the Cuthaean colonists transplanted from central Asia, which 
alone can account for the singular position, neither Jewish nor 
Gentile, which the Samaritans have occupied ever since. In the 
inroad of the lions from the Jordan valley, 2 through the tangled 
and deserted forests of Samaria, these foreign settlers saw a 
divine judgment on their alien rites, and though these rites lin- 
gered for two or three generations, they soon gave way to the 
traditions received from the Ephraimite or Benjamite priest, 
who revived for the last time the ancient sanctuary of Bethel, 
and from the poorer classes, 3 who remained in the country after 
the court and aristocracy had been carried off. In the deep- 
rooted inveterate feud between the Jews and Samaritans, sur- 
viving even to our own time, but with a world-renowned bitter- 
ness at the time of the Christian era, we see a later outbreak of 
the fiery rivalry which burnt between the kingdoms of Reho- 
boam and Jeroboam. In the congenial kindness with which 
He who was Himself called in scorn ' a Samaritan ' attracted 
and was attracted by this despised sect j in His gracious words 
to the Samaritan village — to the Samaritan woman — to the 
Samaritan leper — concerning the Samaritan traveller — we read 
a continuation of the same lesson which is suggested by the 
whole course of the history which we have been studying. 

This kindly feeling towards Ephraim, Gerizim, Samaria, is 
the Biblical sanction of the truth impressed upon us by all 
The doctrine sound ecclesiastical history, that the grace of God 
marital" overflows the boundaries within which we might 
history. naturally suppose that it would be confined. The 
kingdom of Judah had, as we shall see, the sanctuary and the 

See Ewald, iii. 675, &c. never as Gentiles. Contrast Acts viii 5, 

* 2 Kings xvii. 35. Comp. Zech. 14, 16, with Acts x. 28, 45. (3.) From 

xi. 3. their own account of themselves. (4.) 

3 That they were mainly Jewish From their Jewish usages. (5.) From the 

appears-(i.) From their language. (2.) many Israelites left in Palestine after the 

From the fact that in the New Testament Captivity. 

they are described as 'sUangers,' but 

lkct. xxxi?. THE SAMARITAN SECT. 323 

sacred ritual. 'The Jews knew what they worshipped j' and in 
the fullest sense ' the salvation ' of the nation came from them. 
But this did not prevent the growth of the series of Prophets 
within the kingdom of Samaria, and throughout their teaching 
there is hardly a word to show that they laid any stress on the 
duty of conforming to the ritual of Judah. There is, indeed, 
a modern tradition that the travellers described ! by Hosea were 
pilgrims to Jerusalem. But of this there is no trace in the 
original text. The moral evils, the sensual idolatries of Sama- 
ria, are attacked with no sparing hand, but hardly ever the sin 
of outward separation. Both kingdoms are impartially de- 
nounced j 2 neither is by deliberate comparison placed above 
the other. The soil of the kingdom of Israel was as precious 
to distant pilgrims as the soil of Judaea. 3 The capital of Omri 
was saved by as direct an intervention of Providence as ever 
rescued the capital of David. 4 In the life of Elijah a late 
Jewish tradition maintains 5 that the rebuke which he addressed 
to Ahab was the first verse of the 76th Psalm : 'In Judah is 
'God known.' But this, though it is what much of modern 
Judaism and of modern Christianity would require from him, 
is not the record of the ancient Scriptures. His rebuke to 
Ahab, as we have seen, was grounded on a far deeper basis. 
The question of the schism of Judah and Israel was one which 
he never for a moment stirred. The position of this greatest 
of the Prophets, living entirely apart from the authorised sanc- 
tuary of Judah, has been described with a thrilling sympathy in 
a remarkable sermon, preached more than twenty years ago by 
one who was struggling, with all the energy of a large and 
generous heart, to keep his balance in what he believed to be a 
schismatical and almost heretical Church. Elijah made no 
effort to set right what had gone so wrong ; he paid no honour 

1 Dr Pusey on Hosea, p. 42. ' God, and is faithful with the saints,' but 

3 The only exception is 2 Kings iii. 14, ' Judah is inconstant with God, and with 

where Elisha refuses to speak to Jehoram, ' the faithful Holy One.' See the com- 

except for the sake of Jehoshaphat. Hos. parison of the two kingdoms in Ezek. xxiii. 

xi 12 has been alleged as an example to 4, 11, 32. 

the contrary. But the LXX , the context, 3 2 Kings v. 17. 

and the general rendering of Hebrew * Ibid. vii. 16. 

scholars confirm the translation which ' Life 0/ Dr. Wolff, i. 222. 

renders it to be not ' Judah ruleth with 

Y 2 

324 THE FALL OF SAMARIA. riser, xxxit. 

to the regular service of the Mosaic ritual ; he never went on 
the yearly pilgrimage : in the one instance in which he is found 
in the kingdom of Judah, 'he passed by Jerusalem, he went on 
1 to Beersheba ' — he passed on along a forlorn ' and barren way 
1 into that old desert where the children of Israel had wandered 
1 to Horeb, the mount of God.' His mission and that of his 
successor was to make the best of what they found, ' not to 
1 bring back a rule of religion that had passed away,' but to 
dwell on the Moral Law, which could be fulfilled everywhere ; 
not on the Ceremonial Law, which circumstances seemed to 
have put out of their reach : ' not sending the Shunammite to 
1 Jerusalem, nor eager for a proselyte in Naaman, yet making 
1 the heathen fear the name of God, and proving to them that 
* there was a Prophet in Israel.' l 

When our hearts glow with admiration for the splendid 
character of Elijah, or in sympathy with the tenderness of 
Hcsea, we are but responding to the call of Him who bids us do 
justice and mercy even to those to whom, on theological or eccle- 
siastical grounds, we are most opposed ; and recognise that the 
goodness which we approve was found, not in the Priest or 
the Levite, but in the heretical, schismatical, Samaritan. The 
history of Judah will have other and equally important lessons 
to teach us ; but the history of Samaria, in the very names of 
Samaria and Samaritan, carry with them the savour of this 
great Evangelical doctrine, The Prophets of Judah looked 
forward to a blessed time when Ephraim should not envy 
Judah, and Judah should not vex Ephraim. The Prophets of 
Israel, and He who, like them, dwelt not in Judaea but in 
Galilee, ' whence no good 2 thing could come,' and in Samaria, 
with which the Jews had no 3 dealings,' were incontestable 
witnesses that such a hope was not impossible. 

1 Newman's Sermons, viii. 415. 2 John i. 46, vii. 41, 52. 3 Ibid. it. 9. 








I. Original authorities lost : — 

1. The ' BooV- of the Kings of Judah and Israel ' (2 Chr. xxv. 

26, xxxii. 32), or ' of Israel and Judah ' (ibid, xxvii. 7, xxxv. 

27, xxxvi. 8), or the 'Book ('Words' or 'Acts') of Israel' 
(xxxiii. 18), from Amaziah to Jehoiachin. 

2. The ' Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah ; ' in the 
case of Rehoboam (1 Kings xiv. 29), Abijam {ibid. xv. 7), 
Asa (xv. 23), Joram (2 Kings viii. 23), Joash (xii. 19), Azariah 
(xv. 6), Jotham (xv. 36), Ahaz (xvi 19), Hezekiah (xx. 20), 
Manasseh (xxi. 17), Amon (xxi. 25), Josiah (xxiii. 28), Jehoiakim 
(xxiv. 5). 

3. The ' Book (' Words ') of Shemaiah ' (2 Chr. xii. 15). 

4. The ' Visions of Iddo the Seer against Jeroboam ' (2 Chron. ix. 
29) ; and the 'Book ('Words') of Iddo the Seer concerning 
Genealogies' (2 Chr. xii. 15). 

5. The 'Book ('Words') of Jehu, son of Hanani' (2 Chr. xx. 34). 

6. The 'Rest of the Acts ('Words') of Uzziah, first and last,' by 
Isaiah (2 Chr. xxvi. 22) ; the 'Vision of Isaiah son of Amoz,' 
containing the 'Rest of the Acts ('Words') of Hezekiah ' (2 
Chr. xxxii. 32). Of this it is probable that Is. xxxvi. -xxxix. 
forms a part. 

7. The 'Sayings ('Words') of Hozai ' (2 Chr. xxxiii. 19). 


II. The extant Historical Books : — 

i. The Prophetical 'Book of the Kings,' completed at the time of 
the Captivity (2 Kings xxv. 27-30). 

2. The Chronicles — 'The Words of the Days,' the last in the 
Canon — one book, divided by LXX. into two books, under the 
name of Paralipomena, ' Omitted Parts. ' Compiled from various 
sources, of which the latest appears to be of the time of Alex* 
ander the Great (1 Chr. iii. 21-24). 

III. Illustrations from contemporary Prophets : Joel ; Hosea ; Amos ; 

Micah ; Isaiah i.-xxxvi. ; Zephaniah ; Zechariah xii.-xiv. ; 
Habakkuk ; Obadiah ; Jeremiah ; Ezekiel ; Isaiah xl.-lxvi. ; 
and from the Psalms. 

IV. Illustrations from the Moabite Stone (Ginsburg's Edition). 

V. Illustrations from Assyrian and Egyptian Monuments. 

VI. Jewish traditions (1) in Josephus, Ant. viii. 10-x. 8; (2) in the 
Quastiones Hebraicce, attributed to Jerome ; (3) in Fabricius, 
Codex Pseudepigraphus Vet. Test. 

VII. Heathen Traditions in Herodotus, ii. 141, 159. 




The history of the Kingdom of Judah is the history of a 
dynasty, rather than of a nation— of a city, rather than of a 
country. Its title reveals to us its strength as well as its weak- 
ness. The tribe of Judah, the city of Jerusalem, the family of 
David, had acquired too much fame during the preceding 
reigns to be easily lost. It is a striking instance of the influ- 
ence of a great name on the course of human history. The 
long hereditary line attracted a prestige which in Israel was 
shattered by the constant vicissitudes of the royal houses. The 
1 lamp ' l or ■ torch ' of David was always burning, even although 
it seemed at times on the very verge of extinction. There was 
a pledge given as if by 'a covenant of salt,' 2 that the House of 
David should never perish. The interment or non-interment 
in the royal tomb was a judgment passed on each successive 
King, as the highest honour or deepest disgrace that he could 
reach. A royal funeral was more than a ceremony — its costly 
fragrance, 3 its solemn dirges, were regarded as a kind of 
canonisation. The King was the person round whom the 
hopes of the Prophet Ruler 4 constantly revolved, even though 
they were constantly disappointed. An ideal was always bound 
up with the royal office which kept it, in a peculiar sense, in the 

' i Kings xi. 36 ; 2 Kings viii. 19. * 2 Chr. xiii. 5. 

3 Ibid. xvi. 14, xxi. 19, 20 ; Jer. xxxiv.5, xxii. 10, 18. * See Ewald, iii. 460. 

328 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. iect. xixv. 

sight of the people. Jerusalem, the most recent, but also the 
most potent of the sanctuaries in its religious associations, re- 
presented, as no other place could, the national unity. The 
Temple of Solomon was the only building worthy of the 
national faith. All the most sacred relics of the primitive his- 
tory were there stored up. Much as its splendour suffered from 
sacks and spoliations, yet its worship was only twice interrupted. 
Even the idolatrous Kings, such as Rehoboam and Abijah, 
respected its sanctity, made costly offerings, and frequented its 
services. Athaliah and Manasseh established their own heathen 
rites under the shadow of its walls. The Priesthood, which 
had gained a new development at the time of the formation of 
the separate kingdom, became, as it advanced, one of the 
firmest institutions of the State. 

And when, after the fall of Samaria before the Assyrian 
power, the little kingdom of Judah remained erect, it gathered 
into itself the whole national spirit. From this time began that 
identification of a single tribe with the people at large, which is 
expressed in the word Jew} .Only by an anachronism do we 
apply the words Jew and Jewish to times before the overthrow 
of Samaria. Had Israel remained faithful to her call, the charm 
which now invests the names of Jerusalem and Zion might well 
have been attached to Shechem and Samaria. But Judah and 
Jerusalem rose to the emergency, and therefore ' out of Zion 
' went forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' 
The very smallness of the kingdom acted as a stimulus to its 
internal independence and strength. Again and again the 
fewness 2 of the people, the narrowness of its territory, 3 are 
contrasted with the vigour of its moral strength, the width of its 
spiritual dominion. 

These were the main preservatives of the kingdom of Judah. 
They were also amongst the main causes of its distractions and 
of its ultimate fall. The overweening prestige of the royal 
family threw a disproportionate power into their hands. The 
polygamy which followed on the example of David and 
Solomon, in common with other Oriental monarchs, was far 

1 'Jew,' 'IovSeuos, is Jehudi, i.e. a 2 2 Chr. xiv. 11, xx. 12, xxxii. 7, 8. 

' man of Judah.' s Micah iv. 1 ; Isaiah ii. 2. 

lkc i. xxxv. REHOBOAM. 329 

more persistently carried out in the south than in the north. 
Even the best of the Kings, such as Joash ! and Josiah, had 
more than one wife. There was a local genius of evil as well 
as of good haunting the walls of Jerusalem itself that ultimately 
fostered the growth of heathen idolatry and of orthodox super- 
stition to a degree beyond the worst excesses of Samaria and 
Jezreel. The Temple became a talisman ; the Priesthood a 
centre of superstition and vice. 2 

It is the struggle between these contending elements to 
which, after the shock of the disruption, the kingdom and 
External church of Judah was exposed, that gives the main 
struggle. interest to the period of the seven first successors of 
Solomon. Both kingdom and church were menaced with 
destruction at its commencement. At its close both were 
established on a basis sufficiently solid to withstand the dangers 
of the later period for two more centuries. 

It is necessary first briefly to trace the steps by which the 
kingdom was raised from the state to which it had been reduced 
by the loss of its external dominions. In this crisis, Rehoboam 
Rehoboam. showed himself not altogether unworthy of his ances- 
b.c. 976. tors j ne pi an f d e f ens i ve operations which he 
adopted in the presence of the appalling perils of his situation 
showed, as the Sacred narrative expressly 3 indicates, that he 
still retained a spark of the ' wisdom ' of his father. He ' dwelt 
' himself in Jerusalem. Unlike the northern Kings, who imme- 
diately began to shift their capital, he perceived the immense 
importance of retaining his hold on the city of David. This 
central fortress he surrounded with a chain of fortresses ; in 
part carrying out the designs of his father, but in part increas- 
ing their number and providing them with garrisons, arms, and 
provisions. 4 These garrisoned cities in which he placed those 
princes of his house whom he did not intend for the succession, 
were not, as might have been at first sight expected, on the 
northern frontier against the rival kingdom, but on the southern 
and western side of Jerusalem. 

1 2 Kings xxiv. 31, compared with 36. * See Lecture XL. 

5 2 Chr. xi. 23. ■ Ibid. xi. 5-12. 

* Ibid. 23. Compare Ps. xlv. 16. 

330 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. user. xxxv. 

The reason for this soon became apparent. The great 
Egyptian monarchy was now not allied with the House of 
Solomon, but with the House of Jeroboam. And now, for the 
first time since the Exodus, Judah was once more threatened 
with an Egyptian bondage. 

On the southern side of the Temple of Karnac at Thebes is 
a smaller temple built by Rameses III. Of this one corner 
Shishak. was sculptured inside and out by the King, called in 
b.c. q 7 2. t h e Egyptian language Sesonchosis, in the Hebrew 
Shishak, in the LXX. Susakim, perhaps by Herodotus Sasychis. 1 
He copied almost exactly the figures already carved on the 
other parts of the temple, so that their forms and attitudes are 
mostly conventional. But in one of the processions thus repre- 
sented there is to be found the only direct allusion to Jewish 
history on the Egyptian monuments. On one side stands the 
King himself, on a colossal scale, holding in his hand a train of 
captives. Meeting him is the God Amon, also leading a train 
of lesser captives, by strings which he holds in his hand, and 
which are fastened round their necks. On eleven are inscribed 
the names of their cities, and of these the third from Amon's 
hand was believed by Champollion to bear the name of King of 
Judah. This identification, which for many years attracted 
traveller after traveller to gaze on the only likeness of any 
Jewish King that hacj survived to our time, has been of late 
much disputed. It is now, perhaps, only permitted to dwell 
on the Jewish physiognomy of the whole series of captives, and 
the contrast, so striking from the inverse intensity of interest 
with which we regard them, between the diminutive figures and 
mean countenances of the captives from Palestine, and the 
gigantic God and gigantic Conqueror from Egypt. 

Of this Egyptian conquest of Palestine, from the Hebrew 
narrative we gather only the announcement of an immense in- 
vasion — the Egyptian army, swelled by the nations both of the 
northern coast and of the interior of Africa— and the capture, 
the first capture, of the sacred city. For this the Egyptian 
record, if rightly interpreted by the most recent investigations, 
would substitute the names of the districts and Arab settle- 

' Herod, ii. 136 ; see Ken rick's Egypt, ii. 6. 

use*, xixv. FOREIGN INVASIONS. 33 1 

merits in the south of Judah, with the curious addition of 
several Levitical l and Canaanite towns in the northern kingdom 
as if to mark that the purely Israelite cities remained untouched. 
The golden shields were carried off from the porch of Solomon's 
palace, and the recollection of the catastrophe was long pre- 
served in the brazen substitutes with which Rehoboam poorly 
tried to represent the former grandeur. The bitter irony with 
which the sacred historian records 2 the parade of these counter- 
feits may be considered as the keynote to this whole period. 
They well represent the ' brazen shields ' by which fallen 
churches and kingdoms have endeavoured to conceal from 
their own and their neighbours' eyes that the golden shields of 
Solomon have passed away from them. 

A like invasion is recorded in the reign of Asa. ' Zerah 3 
1 the Ethiopian ' came up from the south, and the decisive 
Zerah. battle was fought at Mareshah. The Book of Kings 
Bc - 947 * passes over the whole war in silence, and the place, 
the person, the numbers are too indistinct in the Chronicles to 
yield any certain results. 4 Only we still welcome the peculiar 
spirit of the ancient Israelite warrior, the essence of religious 
courage : ' It is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, 
1 or with them that have no power.' 5 

The wars with the rival kingdom are more detailed. They 
much resemble those between the rival states of Greece or Italy. 
They chiefly raged round the frontier towns. Three of these 
— Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephraim or Ephron — were taken by 
Abijah, the first probably only for a short time. 6 Then Ramah 
— within six miles of Jerusalem — became an Israelite Decelea ; 
and, as such, Asa thought it worth while to purchase 
even Syrian aid, even with sacred treasures, to destroy 
it, and with the materials to fortify two of his own cities on the 
frontier, Geba and Mizpah. 7 In the latter of these fortresses a 
well was sunk in case of siege, which, three centuries later, 

1 Taanach, Megiddo, Ibleam, Gibeon, rick, ii. 350). 
Beth-horon, Ajalon, Mahanaim. See the * 2 Chr. xiv. 9-15. 

list in the article Shishak, in the Die- 5 Ibid. xiv. 11 ; Ewald makes Psalm 

tionary of the Bible. xxi. to be of this time. 

1 1 Kings xiv. 27. ' Ibid. xiii. 19. 

* It is possible that he was Osorchon ' Ibid. xvi. 1-6 ; 1 Kings xv. 16-22. 

III., who wa* Shishak's successor (Ken- 

332 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lbct. xxxt. 

became associated with a long-remembered calamity. 1 It is a 
fine use to which Bossuet has turned this military incident as 
illustrating the duty, not of rejecting the materials or the argu- 
ments collected by unbelievers or by heretics, but of employing 
them to build up the truth. ' Batissons les forteresses de Juda 
' des debris et des ruines de celles de Samarie.' 2 

In a more startling form, involving a still wider lesson — if 
moral lessons may be deduced at all from these civil conflicts — 

certainly with larger historical results— this principle 
phat. of mutual advantage was followed out by the King of 

Judah who in external prosperity most nearly rivalled 
the grandeur of David, Jehoshaphat. He was to the kingdom 
of Judah almost what Jeroboam II. was in this respect to the 
kingdom of Samaria. The wars with Israel were at once ended 
by the firm alliance, sealed by the intermarriages, which took 3 
place with the House of Omri. It was almost a reunion of the 
kingdoms. 'Jehoshaphat made peace with the King of Israel.' 4 
1 He was as Ahab and Jehoram ; his horses ' (so he adopted 
the new image which the increase of cavalry through these wars 
introduced into all the language, religious and secular, of this 
period) 'were as their horses, his chariots as their chariots, his 
1 people as their people.' 5 Here and there a prophetic 6 voice 
was raised against the alliance ; here and there a calamity 
seemed to follow from it. But, on the whole, the result was 
such as to leave behind the recollection of a reign of proverbial 

The fortifications which had been begun by Solomon, 7 
carried on by Rehoboam, and with less vigour by Abijam and 
Asa, Jehoshaphat continued on the largest scale. He built 
' palaces ' (or 'castles ') 8 and 'cities of store ' throughout Judah, 
and following the precedent ' wisely ' set by Rehoboam, he 
placed in them his six younger sons 9 as well as other ' princes,' 
chosen from the ' host.' I0 Garrisons n were also placed there 

1 Jer. xli. 9. See Lecture XL. • 2 Kings iii. 13 ; 2 Chr. xix. %. 

a Sermon ' Sur la Providence ' (vol. *' Biranioth. 

xii. 400). * 2 Chr. xvii. 12 ; comp. xxvii. 4. 

3 2 Kings viii. 18, 26 ; 2 Chr. xviii. 1. * Ibid. xxi. 2, 3. 

4 1 Kings xxii. 44. l0 Ibid. xvii. 7 (Heb.). 
* Ibid. 4. » Ibid. 2. 

lbct. xxxv. WAR WITH MOAB. 333 

with treasures. 1 Besides these, he had special officers at 
Jerusalem. Their names are not otherwise famous, but the 
mere record of them shows the reviving importance of the 
kingdom of Judah. 

Through the conquest or vassalage of 2 Edom the door 
was opened to the commerce of the gulf of Elath. The port 
of Akaba, or Ezion-Geber, long discontinued, was once more 
alive with shipbuilders and sailors. But the enterprise was de- 
feated ; and a mystery hangs over the history of its failure. 3 

Of his external relations, it is twice stated that ' the fear of 
1 the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were round 
War with ' about Judah, so that they made no war upon Jeho- 
Moab. 'shaphat.' 4 The Philistines who, probably in the 

two Egyptian invasions, had thrown off the yoke of Judah, 
again recognised his sovereignty by tribute. 5 The nomad tribes 6 
paid him tribute in rams and goats. 7 One great invasion he 
sustained. Moab, 8 which maintained an independent rank, 
though subject to the northern kingdom, with its kindred tribes 
of Ammon and Edom, crossed the south-eastern border of 
Palestine, and encamped on the heights above the Dead Sea, 
by the palm-groves of Engedi. 9 A sudden panic or jealousy 10 
dissolved the heterogeneous host in the presence of the army 
of Judah, and the recollection of the expedition, accompanied 
as it had been by all the solemnities of a sacred war, lived long 
in the memory of the people. The opening in the hills where 
the spoil was collected and where the 'blessing,' the ' grace,' on 
its distribution was pronounced by the Levites, was known as 
the 'valley of Blessing.' The whole scene of the wild con- 
fusion of those vast multitudes in the solitude of the desert 
hills, their tumultuous flight, as though before a stroke of that 
Divine judgment of which the name of the victorious king was 
a pledge — appears to have given the name of Jeho-Shaphat in 
this double sense to the wide valley down which the host fled, 

1 2 Chr. xvii. 12, xxi. 3. * Maonites (LXX. Mii>aiot, 2 Chr- 

3 1 Kings xxii. 47. xx. 1). 

3 The Hebrew text of 1 Kings xxii. 7 1 Kings xvii. n ; 1 Chr. ix. 4. 

47-50 seems at variance with that of 2 Chr. " Compare 2 Kings iii. 4. 

xx. 35-37- * 2 Chr. xxi. i, 2. 

* 2 Chr. xvii. 10, xx. 29. to Evil, disturbing spirits. Se« EwaJd, 

1 Ibid. xvii. u. iii. 476. 

334 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lbct. xxxv. 

and to have furnished the Prophet Joel in the next generation 
with the imagery in which he described the Divine judgment 
on the surrounding heathens. Again, he seems to see them 
gathered in the fatal valley. Again, they sit like the fields of 
corn waving for the sickle ; ' Multitudes, multitudes in the 
1 valley of decision.' * And it is a probable conjecture, that 
the 83rd Psalm was sung by Jahaziel the Levite, on this very 
occasion. Tyre, Philistia, and even the distant Assyria, might 
naturally look with favour on an invasion that would cripple the 
reviving powers of Judah. The whirlwind of confusion fitly re- 
presents the panic which overthrew the hostile army, and sent 
them flying like stubble before the storm back to their native 
haunts. 2 

Whether before or after this incident, occurred another con- 
flict with the Moabites, which rests on the rare evidence of both 
parties in the struggle. The monument erected by the King 
of Moab still remains to confirm and to correct the record pre- 
served in the Sacred books of Judah. We see in this double 
record the whole national forces of Israel combining with the 
neighbour nation of Edom against the mighty sheep-master on 
the throne of Moab, who had at last risen against the oppres- 
sions of the House of Omri. We see the forts which, at the 
inspiration of his god, Chemosh, he raised against his enemies. 
We see the arid country through which the allied forces have 
to pass — the sudden apparition of the Prophet and the minstrel 
in the Israelitish army — the red light of the rising sun, reflected 
back from the red hills of Edom— the merciless devastation of 
the conquered territory, apparently at the instigation of the rival 
Edomite chief — the deadly hatred between him 3 and the King 
of Moab — the terrible siege of the royal fortress of Kir-haraseth, 
closing with the sacrifice of the heir to the throne, 4 and the shud- 
der of indignation which it caused. We see in the triumphant 

1 Joel iii. 2. the son of the King of Edom may be 

3 Ps. lxxxiii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 13. See Heng- intended (see Dr. Pusey on Amos ii. 1); 

stenberg, who also refers Psalms xlvii. and but the common interpretation seems the 

xlviii. to this battle, but this is more most probable (Joseph. Ant. ix 3), § 2 ; 

doubtful. Keil ; Ewald ; Thenius). Compare Micah 

* 2 Kings iii. 26. Compare Amos ii. 1. vi. 6 ,7. 

* 2 Kings iii. 26. It is possible that 

lbct. xxxv. INTERNAL STRUGGLE. 335 

thanksgiving of Mesha, preserved, through all vicissitudes, for 
more than two thousand years, the gratitude for a retreat which, 
however caused, was to him a deliverance and a victory, 1 and 
which he celebrated by public works alike stately and beneficent. 
Thus far we have tracked the external history of the king- 
dom, so far as it is needed as a framework of the religious 
struggle which was carried on within. That struggle was neither 
more nor less than the endeavour to maintain the true faith in 
internal One God, against the Canaanite and Phoenician poly- 
struggie. theism which had taken possession of the court of 
Judah. It was this which sunk the southern kingdom so far 
behind the level of the northern, when they first started asunder. 
It almost seemed as if there was something in the old heathen 
origin of Jerusalem which rendered its soil congenial to the re- 
vival of those old heathen impurities. It was like a seething 
cauldron, of mingled blood and froth, ' whose scum is therein 
1 and whose scum is not gone out of it.' 2 The Temple was 
hemmed in by dark idolatries on every side. Mount Olivet 
was covered with heathen sanctuaries, monumental 3 stones, 
and pillars of Baal. Wooden statues of Astarte under the 
sacred trees, huge images of Moloch, appeared at every turn 
in the walks round Jerusalem. The valley of Hinnom now 
received that dreadful association of sacrificial fires and gloomy 
superstition which it never lost. The royal 4 gardens of Tophet 
were used for the same purpose. Already the sights and sounds 
which there met the ear rendered the spot a byword for the 
funeral piles of the dead, and through the Rabbinical traditions 
the horror of this pagan Judaism — these decaying corpses, these 
ghastly fires of Ge-hinnom — has passed on into all the languages 
of Christendom, and furnished the groundwork of the most 
trivial and the most terrible 5 images of suffering that modern 
Europe has received. If there was a 'holy city,' there was also 
an ' unholy city,' within the walls of Zion, and the two were 
perpetually striving for mastery, throughout the whole history 

1 Compare 2 Kings iii. 4-27 with 'the * 2 Kings xxiii. 10 ; Isa. xxx. 33 ; Jer. 

' Moabite Stone* (Ginsburg's edit. pp. 17- vii. 31, 32, xix. 6, 11-14. 
22 I. s The fire of Ge-henna (Matt. v. 22, 29, 

3 Ezek. xxiv. 6. 30 ; Luke xii. 5) corrupted into the French 

3 i«e Keil on 1 Kings xiv. 22. gene. 

336 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lect. xxxv. 

of the place. The last mention of Jerusalem which occurs in 
the Sacred books is as ' the great city which spiritually is called 
' Sodom and Egypt. ' l Such it was literally in the days of Reho- 
boam and Abijah. 

In this struggle the heathen Jerusalem was represented 
chiefly by two powerful princesses, each of foreign extraction — 
Maacah and Athaliah. 

The free independent action of the Hebrew women, as seen 
in the cases of Miriam, Deborah, Michal, was not likely to be 
diminished when they were mounted on the throne. The in- 
fluence of Bathsheba had secured the succession to Solomon. 
In the numerous harem of Rehoboam the favourite queen was 
Maacah, the 'daughter,' or more probably the grand- 
daughter, of his uncle Absalom, called after her own 
grandmother or great- grandmother, the Princess of Geshur. The 
beauty which Absalom had inherited (according to Jewish tradi- 
tion) from this princess, descended to his daughter Tamar, and 
thence to her daughter Maacah, who acquired the same fascina- 
tion first over her husband, and then over her son, that her aunt 
Tamar had exercised over her brothers. 'Rehoboam loved 
' Maacah above all his wives and concubines.' 2 When her son 
Abijah was chosen above all his brothers as successor, she filled 
the high office known in Jerusalem, as in the Turkish empire, by 
a peculiar name — the Queen Mother — Gebirah — 'The 3 Leader ' 
— the Sultana Valide ; and her influence continued through his 
Reforms reign and that of her grandson Asa. It was he who 
of Asa. at ] ast Dr oke the fatal spell. He removed her from her 
office, and destroyed the private sanctuary, in which she seems to 
have ministered. The obscene wooden image which it contained 
was committed to the flames, in the valley of the Kedron. 4 From 
this moment Jerusalem began again to breathe freely. The 
polygamy of the Court, which had lasted through both the pre- 
ceding reigns, ceased \ and the worship of the foreign divinities 
was forbidden. The worst form of licentious rites was partially 
extirpated, and the greatness of the achievement was com- 


1 Rev. xi. 8. 

and in Jer. xiii. 18, xxix. 2. 

* 2 Chr. xi. 21. 

* i Kings xv. 13 ; 2 Chr. xv. 16. The 
rd is only used here, in 2 Kings x. 13, 


* 1 Kings xv. 13 ; 2 Chr. xv. 16. 

lbct. xxxv. REFORMS OF JEHOSHAPHAT. 337 

memoratcd by the renewal of a vow or treaty as in the earlier 
age, as if by a violent effort to bind the people to their better 
thoughts. This ' Solemn League and Covenant ' for the sup- 
pression of filthy and cruel rites, remote as it is from our age 
and feelings, breathed a more exalted spirit than that which, 
nearer to our own days (and no doubt in imitation of this earliest 
form of it), bound the Scottish nation to deadly war against a 
particular form of ecclesiastical government. 

What Asa had begun, Jehoshaphat continued, by endeavour- 
ing, as it would seem, to supply some permanent counterpoise to 
the influences which had so deeply degraded his kingdom. For 
the first time we distinctly hear of regular judicial and educa- 
. tional functions in the Jewish Church founded on ' the 

Reforms of J 

jehosha- ' Book of the Law.' l Words spoken, sung, shouted, 
with inspired force, we have heard before. This is 
the first recorded example, since the Decalogue, of such in- 
junctions being committed to writing. In the commission which 
the King issued for the purpose of expounding the principles of 
' the Book of the Law,' four great officers of the Court and camp 2 
stand first, and the nine Levites and two priests are associated 
with them. The whole measure implies a sense of the moral 
needs of the nation. The stern address of the 82nd Psalm to 
the judges of Israel, even if not actually called forth by this 
step, corresponds precisely with the appeal of Jehoshaphat. 
That Divine character which in the Old Testament is ascribed 
to judges, even more than to kings, prophets, or priests, is 
solemnly made the foundation of the lesson conveyed to them. 3 
The Divine right by which they are to pronounce judgment is 
expressly mentioned, not as a warrant for their absolute authority, 
but as a necessity for their doing their duty. If we may safely 
interpret the indications given in the Chronicles, Jehoshaphat 
was here, as elsewhere, following up the great religious reaction 
which Asa had commenced, and which the only two prophets 
who appear during this crisis of the monarchy recommend. 
The aggregation of prophets in the kingdom of Samaria had 

1 It is only mentioned in 2 Chr. xvii. 7-9, xix. 5-11. 
* The word BenJiail- military officer, 2 Chr. xvii. 7. 
s Ps. lxxxii. 6. See Lecture XVII. 

338 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lect. xxxt. 

kept alive the fire of the true religion there, even in the face ot 
the severest persecutions. To supply this void in the kingdom 
of Jerusalem, the new spiritual and moral development now- 
given to the Levitical priesthood could not but have a peculiar 

The importance was to be brought to light in an unexpected 
turn taken by this national struggle — a turn for which Jehosha- 
Athaiiah. P nat himself, by his alliance with the House of Omri, 
b.c. 88 3 . ^d unconsciously prepared the way. We have 
reached the eve of a great revolution and counter-revolution, 
which alone of all the events in the history of the kingdom of 
Judah posses es the dramatic interest belonging to so many 
other parts of the sacred story, and which is told with a vivid- 
ness of detail, implying its lasting significance, and contrasting 
remarkably with the scanty outlines of the earlier reigns. 

The friendly policy of the two royal houses had culminated 
in the marriage of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, with 
Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab. 1 In her, the fierce deter- 
mined energy which ran through the Phoenician princes and 
princesses of that generation— Jezebel, Dido, Pygmalion — was 
fully developed. Already in her husband's reign, the worship 
of Baal was restored ; and when the tidings reached Jerusalem 
of the overthrow of her father's house, of the dreadful end of 
her mother, and of the fall of her ancestral religion in Samaria, 
instead of daunting her resolute spirit, it moved her to a still 
grander effort. 2 

It was a critical moment for the House of David. Once 
from a struggle within the royal household itself, a second time 
from an invasion of Arabs, a third time from the revolution in 
the massacres of Jehu's accession, the dynasty had been thin- 
ned and thinned, till all the outlying branches of those vast 
polygamous households had been reduced to the single family 
of Ahaziah. 3 Ahaziah himself had perished with his uncle on 
the plain of Esdraelon, and now, ' when Athaliah saw that 
' Ahaziah was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed-royal.' 4 

1 2 Kings viii. 18, 26 ; 2 Chr. xxi. 6, * 2 Chron. xxi. 4, 17 ; 2 Kings x. 14. 

xxii. 2. * 2 Kings xi. 1. 

3 2 Kings xi. a ; 2 Chr. xxii. 10. 

lbct. xxxv. ATIIALIAH. 339 

The whole race of David seemed to be swept away. Whoever 
the princes were who were called l ' her sons,' they joined with 
her in opposition to the fallen dynasty. 2 The worship of Baal, 
uprooted by Jehu in Samaria, sprang up in Jerusalem with 
renewed vigour, as in its native soil. The adherents of Baal, 
exiled from the northern kingdom, no doubt took refuge in the 
south. The Temple became a quarry for the rival sanctuary. 
The stones and the sacred vessels were employed to build or to 
adorn the Temple of Baal, which rose, as it would seem, 3 even 
within the Temple precincts, with its circle of statues, and its 
sacred altars, before which ministered the only priest of that 
religion, whose name has been preserved to us — Mattan. 

But as before the Pagan worship had co-existed with the 
established worship in the Temple, so now the ancient wor- 
ship continued side by side with that of the Pagan sanctuary. 
There was no persecution of the Priests in Judah correspond- 
ing to that of the Prophets in Israel ; and at the head of the 
priesthood was a man of commanding position and character 
who, by a union without precedent, had (at least according to 
one account) intermarried with the royal family. His wife, 
Jehosheba, 4 was the daughter of Joram. In the general mas- 
sacre of the princes, one boy, still a babe in arms, had been 
rescued by Jehosheba. The child and nurse had first been 
concealed in the store-room of mattresses in the palace, and 
then in the Temple under the protection of her husband 
Jehoiada and with her own children. He was known as ' the 
'king's son.' 5 The 'light of David ' was burnt down to its 
socket, but there it still flickered. The stem of Jesse was cut 
down to the very roots; one tender shoot was all that remained. 
On him rested the whole hope of carrying on the lineage of 
David. For six years they waited. 6 In the seventh year of 

* Joseph. Ant. ix. 7, } 1. wife of Aaron (called in the LXX. Elisa- 
1 2 Chron. xxiv. 7. By such a daring beth\ and Elisabeth the wife of Zcchariah. 

act the half-Jewish Queen of Abyssinia, Both have the same meaning 'the oath of 

Esther, secured her power (Harris, 'Jehovah ' or ' of God.' Joseph. (Ant. ix. 

Ethiopian Highlands, iii. 6). 7, § 2) makes her the daughter of Joram, 

* 2 Kings xi. 18 ; 2 Chr. xxiii. 17, 18. not by Athaliah- ofiondrpia 'O^ocrta. She 

* Jehosheba in 2 Kings xi. 2, Jeho- is called the wife of Jehoiada in 2 Chr. 
ihabeath in 2 Chr. xxii. 11. The same xxii. 11 only. 

variation appears in the names of the two R 2 Kings xi. 12 ; 2 Chr. xxiii. 3. 

otker cetebrated pri ef mc», Elisheba the ■ 2 Kings xi. 4 ; 2 Chr. xxiii. 1. 

Z 2 

340 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lect. xxxv. 

Athaliah's reign, Jehoiada prepared his measures for his great 
stroke. Every step was taken in accordance with the usages 
which had been gradually gaining head during the previous 
reigns, and all the means which his office placed at his disposal 
were freely employed. He placed himself first in direct com- 
munication with the five officers of the royal guard, now, as in 
David's time, consisting partly of foreigners, amongst whom the 
Carian mercenaries were conspicuous. 1 These he bound over 
to his cause by a solemn oath. The Chronicler adds that a 
body 2 of armed Levites was also introduced into the Temple. 
They were encouraged by an ancient prediction : ' Behold the 
'king's son shall reign.' 3 

The High Priest thus arranged the operations. It was on 
the Sabbath-day apparently that the stroke was to be struck. 
Revolution Tne g uarc * s ( or tne Levites) were divided into two 
of jehoiada. great bodies. The first consisted of those who 
mounted guard on the Sabbath-day, as the Kings 
went to the Temple. These were to keep their usual position, 
in three detachments : the first at the porch of the palace, the 
second at one of the Temple gates, called the gate of the 
foundation ; the third at another, called, doubtless from its 
being the usual halting place of the guards, the ' gate 4 of the 
' runners.' These were to keep their places to avoid suspicion. 
The second division consisted of those who attended the Kings 
to the Temple. These, on the present occasion, were to place 
themselves on the right and left hand of the young King, inside 
the Temple, in order to protect his person, and to put to death 
anyone who came within the circle of rails which enclosed tha 
royal seat or stand. As soon as they had effected their entrance, 
they were furnished by Jehoiada with the spears and shields 
that, as relics of David's time, hung somewhere within the 
sacred precincts, just as his predecessor Abimelech had fur- 

1 2 Kings xi. 4 ; 2 Chr. xxiii. 1. The 3 2 Chr. xxiii. 2. The Chronicler 

word translated ' captains ' is hac-Care (ver. 4, 5) ascribes to these almost (2 Chr. 

(the Carians), occurring only here and in xxiii. 1) all that 2 Kings xi. 4-13 ascribes 

2 Sam. xx. 23, apparently the same as to the guard. Whilst 2 Kings xi. 4 omits 

Cerethites. 2 Sam. xx. 7. The word the Levites, 2 Chr. xxiii. 6 wholly excludes 

translated ' guard ' is ' runners,' as in the guards. 

1 Sam. xxii. 17 ; 2 Kings x. 25, &c. s 2 Chr. xxiii. 3. * 2 Kings xi. 19. 

(Ewald, iii. 575). 

UCT, xxxv. ATHALIAH. 34 1 

nished to David himself the sword of Goliath. Equipped with 
these weapons, by which the throne was once more to be won 
back to David's house, they took up their position. 

The little Prince then appeared on the royal platform, 
apparently raised on a pillar near the gate leading into the 
inner court. 1 It is the first direct example of a coronation. 
The diadem, 2 which was probably a band studded with jewels, 
was placed on his head by the High Priest, and upon it the 
sacred 'Testimony,' 3 which in the reign of Jehoshaphat had 
been raised into new importance. It seems like the intimation 
of a limitation in the King's despotic power — an indication 
that he was to be not, like David, above, but beneath the law 
of his country. He was then anointed with the sacred oil. 4 
The bystanders, whether guards or people, clapped their hands 
together and raised the national shout, ' Long live the King ! ' 
The sound reached Athaliah in her palace. She came at once 
into the Temple, as it would seem, with the same high spirit 
that had marked the last days of her mother, unguarded and 
alone. Both accounts give us, in almost the same words, the 
scene that burst upon her. 'Behold' — the little child — now 
no longer the King's son or the unknown foundling, but ' the 
' King,' — stood on his platform, at the gate of the court. Be- 
side him were officers of the guard, the trumpeters whose office 
it was to announce the royal inauguration. The Temple court 
was crowded with spectators ; they, too, took part in the cele- 
bration, and themselves prolonged the trumpet blast, blended 
with the musical instruments of the Temple service. 5 She saw 
in a moment that the fatal hour was come. She rent her royal 
robes, and cried out, in the words always applied to treason : 
' Conspiracy, conspiracy ! ' The voice of the High Priest was 
the first to be heard 6 ordering the officers to drag her out from 

1 2 Kings xi. 14; 2 Chr. xxiii. 13; * Law ' in 2 Chr. xxii. 
Joseph. Ant. ix. 7, § 3 ; and comp. Ezek. * By whom, is not clearly expressed : 

xlvi. 2, 2 Kings xvi. 18, xxiii. 3. according to the present Hebrew text of 

a 2 Sam. i. 10; Ex. xxix. 16; Ps. 2 Kings xi. 12, by the people; according 

lxxxix. 30 ; Zech. ix. 16. It is a different to the LXX. of the same, by Jehoiada ; 

word from the ' golden crown ' of David according to the Chronicler (2 Chr. xxiii. 

and Solomon. 11), by Jehoiada and his sons. 

' 2 Kings xi. 12 ; 2 Chr. xxiii. 11 '2 Kings xi. 14 ; 2 Chr. xxiii. 13. 

(Thenius). Whatever this was, it w as * Ibid. xi. 15, 16 , 1 Chr. xxiii. 14, 15. 

probably the same as the ' Book of thr 

342 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lect. xxxt. 

the precincts. So strict was the reverence to the Temple, that 
she passed all through the long array of armed Levites and 
exulting multitudes, out through the eastern gate into the Ked- 
ron Valley, 1 before they fell upon her, and not till she reached 
a spot known as the 'road or gate of the horses/ or 'of the 
1 royal mules,' 2 was the blow struck which ended her life. 

Then again took place one of the ' covenants ' or ' pledges ' 
of that age — a league, as it were, between King and people, 
between the King and the true religion, as a consecration for 
a crusade against the false worship. As in Samaria, under 
Jehu, six years before, so here in Judaea, the Temple of Baal, 
with its altars and statues, was shattered to pieces by the 
popular fury. In front of the altars fell the Priest of Baal, 
Mattan. Guards were placed over the Temple, so as to 
prevent any rapine ; and then in a long procession, formed of 
the officers, the guards, and the multitude who had taken part 
in the proceedings of the day, the boy was brought down from 
the Temple, by the causeway through which the guards usually 
preceded the King to and from the palace. He was brought 
into the palace, and seated on the golden throne within the 
1 high gateway ' — ' the throne of the Kings of Judah.' 3 

'And the city was in quiet,' and so ended the troubled 
scenes of the first Sabbath of which any detailed account is 
preserved to us in the Sacred Records. 

The restoration of the House of David after such a narrow 
escape of total destruction was in itself a marked epoch in the 
Jewish nation ; and much in the same way as in the like 
period of English history, when there was so strong an anxiety 
to secure an undoubted heir to the throne, so now it 
is emphatically recorded that Jehoiada lost no time 
in securing a succession to the throne of Judah. ' Jehoiada 
' took for Joash two wives, and he begat sons and daughters.' 4 
But the peculiar circumstances of the restoration were also 
fraught with an interest of their own. The part played by 
Jehoiada raised the Priesthood to an importance which (with 
the single exception of Eli) it had never before attained in the 

1 Joseph. Ant. ix. 7, 5 4. * 2 Kings xi. 19. 

* Ibid. * a Chr. xxiv. a. 

lkct. xxxv. JOASH. 343 

history of the Jewish nation, and which it never afterwards 
altogether lost. Through the Priesthood the lineage of David 
had been saved, and the worship of Jehovah restored ' in 
Judah, even more successfully than it had been in Samaria 
through the Prophets. During the minority of Joash, Jehoiada 
virtually reigned. The very office was in some sense created 
by himself. The name of ' High Priest,' which had not been 
given to Aaron, or Eli, or Zadok, was given 2 to him, and 
afterwards continued to his successors. He was regarded as a 
second founder of the order, so that in after days he, rather 
than Aaron, is described as the chief. 3 

The fust object was to restore the Temple itself. Its 
treasures had been given away piecemeal to invaders, even by 
the most devout of the Kings, and had been plundered twice 
over by the Egyptians and Arabs. Its very foundations had 
been injured by the agents of 4 Athaliah in removing its stones 
for her own temple. To Joash, who alone of the Princes of 
the House of David had been actually brought up within the 
Temple walls, the reparation of its venerable fabric was natu- 
Reforms of ra Uy tne nrst object. From him, as it would seem. 
joash. an( j not f rom jehoiada, the chief impulse proceeded. 
'Joash was minded to restore the house of the Lord.' 'The 
' repairing of the house of the Lord ' is mentioned as one of the 
great acts of his reign. 5 And it is instructive to see that the 
elevation of the moral above the ceremonial law, which 
characterised the best traditions of the Jewish nation, made 
itself felt even in the King who might, most of all, have been 
thought a mere nursling and instrument of the sacerdotal caste. 
When, from some unexplained cause, the Priests had failed to 
appropriate the contribution to its proper purpose, the whole 
hierarchy, with Jehoiada 6 at their head, met with a mild yet 
decided rebuke from the King, and a measure was agreed 
upon, very similar to those which have taken place in modern 

1 2 Chr. xxiii. 18, 19. This is omitted in 1 Chr. xxvii. 5 (' the head Priest'), 
in 2 Kings xi. ■ Jer. xxix. 26. * 2 Chr. xxiv. 7. 

a 2 Kings xii. 10. Down to this time * Ibid. 4, 27. 

the chief of the order had been ' The 8 2 Kings xii. 7. In 2 Chr. xxiv. 5, 6, 

' Priest.' The only exception is the doubt- only Jehoiada and the Levites, not the 

ful one of Jehoiada, tht father of Benaiah Priests. 

344 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. lect. xxxv, 

times on the suspicion of malversation of ecclesiastical pro- 
perty. The administration of the funds was removed from the 
hands of the delinquent order. All future contributions were 
deposited in a public chest, placed close to the great altar l in 
the Temple court, and were audited, so to speak, not only by 
the High Priest, but by the royal secretary 2 in the presence of 
public officers. The measure completely answered. Confi- 
dence was restored, contributions flowed in, the workmen could 
be implicitly trusted, and the repairs went on in this and the 
succeeding reigns at a rapid pace. Nothing was 3 spent on 
mere ornaments — everything was devoted to the solid repair of 
the fabric. 

In spite of this unpleasant suspicion, there was no open 
rupture between the King and the Priestly order, so long as 
his benefactor Jehoiada lived. Their joint rule, almost as of 
father and son, must have resembled the one parallel in the 
Christian Church, when Michael Romanoff as Czar, and his 
father Philaret as Patriarch of Moscow, ruled the Church and 
State of Russia. Jehoiada lived to a great old 4 age, and on 
Death of his death his services, as preserver of the royal 
jehoiada. dynasty and as restorer of the Temple worship, were 
esteemed so highly, that he received an honour allowed to no 
no other subject in the Jewish monarchy. He was buried in 
state within the walls of Jerusalem, 5 in the royal sepulchres. 

The reign of Joash, which had been lit up by so romantic 
a beginning, was darkened by a tragical end. Though only 
told in the Chronicles, it agrees so well with human nature, 
and with the circumstances of the case, that it deserves close 

On Jehoiada's death, the Jewish aristocracy, who perhaps 
had never been free from the licentious and idolatrous taint 
introduced by Rehoboam, and confirmed by Athaliah, and 
who may well have been galled by the new rise of the Priestly 

1 2 Kings xii. q. This is omitted in 2 implication in 7. 
Chr. xxiv. 8, and the chest is placed at the * For the difficulties attending the age 

outer gate. of Jehoiada, stated, in 2 Chr. xxiv. 15, to 

a Ibid. xii. 10 ; 2 Chr. xxiv. 11. be 130, see Lord Arthur Hervey's Genear 

' 2 Kings xii. 13. This is contradicted logies, p. 113. 
in 2 Chr. xxiv. 12, 13, 14, and probably by 5 2 Chr. xxiv. 16. 

lelt. xx<v. MURDER OF ZECHARIAH. 345 

order, presented themselves before Joash, and offered him the 
same obsequious homage that had been paid by the young 
nobles to Rehoboam. He, irritated, it may be, by the am- 
biguous conduct of the Priests in the affair of the restoration 
of the Temple, and feeling himself released from personal 
obligations by the death of his adopted father, threw himself 
into their hands. Athaliah was avenged almost on the spot 
where she had been first seized by her enemies. That fierce 
blood which she had inherited from her parents ran in the 
veins of her grandson : 

Indocile a ton joug, fatigue de ta loi, 
Fidele au sang d'Achab qu'il a recu de moi, 
Conforme a son aieul, a son pere semblable, 
On verra de David l'heritier detestable 
Abolir tes honneurs, profaner ton autel, 
Et venger Athalie, Achab, et Je'zabel. 1 

So Athaliah is well conceived as predicting the future of 
Joash on the day of her first encounter with him. Once more 
the degrading worship of Baal and Astarte appeared in Judah. 
Against this apostacy Prophetic warnings 2 were raised, now 
more common in Judah than a century before. One of these 
came from a quarter which, from the King at least, ought to 
have commanded respect. With Joash, when a child in the 
Temple, had been brought up the sons of Jehoiada. One of 
these, Zechariah, 3 had succeeded his father in the office of High 
Priest. On him, as he stood high above the worshippers in the 
Temple, the Prophetic spirit descended ; and he broke out 
into a vehement remonstrance against the desertion of the 
Murder of God of their fathers. At the command of the King, 
Zechariah. w ^en he heard of this— it may be, at his hasty words, 
like those of our Henry II. — the nobles or the people rushed 
upon Zechariah, and with stones — probably from the Temple 
repairs — stoned him to death. His last words were 4 re- 
membered — ' Jehovah, look upon it, and require it.' The 
spot where he fell was traditionally shown in the sacred space 

1 Racine, Athalie, Act v. sc. 6. * ' Burdens were many,' 2 Chr. xxiv. *j 

1 2 Chr. xxiv. 20 (LXX. Azariah), and see 1 Chr. vi. 12. 
* Ibid. 22 ; Matt, xxiii. 35. 

346 THE FIRST KINGS OF JUDAH. user. *iiV. 

between the great porch of the Temple and the brazen altar. 
The act produced a profound impression. It was a later Jewish 
tradition, but one which marks the popular feeling, that this 
crowning crime of the House of Judah took place on the Sab- 
bath-day, on the great Day of Atonement, and that its marks 
were never to be effaced. It was believed that when the Baby- 
lonian general entered the Temple on the day of its capture, 
he saw blood bubbling up from the pavement, and on being 
told that it was the blood of calves, rams, and lambs, he slew 
an animal of each kind on the spot. Their blood bubbled not, 
but that still bubbled on. They then told him that it was a 
Prophet, Priest, and Judge, who had foretold all that they had 
suffered from him, and who had been murdered by them. 
Nebuzaradan then slew on the place, by thousands, the rabbis, 
school-children, and young priests, yet still it was not quiet. 
Then he said, 'O Zechariah, Zechariah, thou hast destroyed 
' the best of thy people ; would'st thou have me destroy all ? ' 
Then it ceased to bubble. 1 The sacredness of the person 2 and 
of the place, the concurrent guilt of the whole nation — king, 
nobles, and people — the ingratitude of the chief instigator, the 
culmination of the long tragedy of the House of Omri, the 
position which the story held in the Jewish Canon, as the last 
great murder of the last 3 book of the Old Testament, all con- 
spired to give it the, peculiar significance with which it is re- 
corded in the Gospels as closing the catalogue of unrighteous 
deaths, 'from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of 
' Zechariah 4 . . . who was slain between the Temple and the 
' altar.' It is a striking instance of the high tone even of the 
most sacerdotal of the Sacred books, that the judgment which 
fell on Joash was believed to have descended, not because he 
had murdered a High Priest, but because he had broken one 
of the eternal laws of natural affection — ' He remembered not 

1 Talmud, Taanith, quoted by Light- the Jewish canon. 

foot on Matt, xxiii. 35. * Luke xi. 51 ; Matt, xxiii. 35. ' Je- 

2 In Mussulman traditions he is con- ' hoiada ' was read in the Nazarene Gospel, 
founded not only with Zechariah, the Barachiah was probably substituted to 
•rther of John the Baptist, but with John accommodate it to the murder in Joseph, 
himself (Jelaladdin, 292). B. J. iv. 6, § 8. 

* The Chronicles, which stand last in 

(MX. xixv. DEATH OF JOASH. 347 

4 the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but 
1 slew his son.' L 

The formidable Syrian king, Hazael, not content with his 
ravages of the northern kingdom, made a sudden descent on 
the south. Not Jerusalem itself, but its Palestine dependency, 
Gath, was his first object. In this he succeeded, and then turned 
towards Jerusalem. A disgraceful defeat ensued. A large army 
of Jews fled before a small army of Syrians. Many of the aris- 
tocracy perished, or were taken prisoners. The conqueror was 
only bought off from Jerusalem by the surrender of all the sacred 
treasures which had been accumulated since the last confisca- 
tion of them for a like object by Asa. 2 The King sank into the 
languor of complicated disease, and, whilst he was in this state, 
he was attacked on his bed, in the fortress of Millo, by two of 
his guards, whose names are variously given — of Ammonite and 
Moabite extraction 3 — to avenge the blood of Zechariah. It was 
not till his son Amaziah was firmly seated on the throne that the 
murderers were punished ; and then (with a mercy shown ap- 
parently 4 for the first time in the Hebrew annals) their children 
were spared. Joash himself, according to the more favourable 
version, was buried in the royal sepulchres : according to the 
darker view of his reign, he was excluded from them, though his 
corpse was allowed to remain within the walls of the city of 
David. 5 

So ended the last remains of the great struggle of the House 
of Omri for power. So was preserved the House of David 
through the fiercest struggles, inward and outward, that it wit- 
nessed till its final overthrow. So was confirmed the establish- 
ment of the Priesthood in the heart of the monarchy. 

1 2 Chr. xxiv. 22. xxiv. 25. Verse 27 of the latter refers to 

* 2 Kings xii. 17, 18; 2 Chr. xxiv. 23, the numerous prophetic ' burdens' launched 
14. Comp. 1 Kings xv. 18. against the King. The LXX. reads the 

3 Ibid. xii. 21 ; 2 Chr. xxiv. 26. 'jfa'',' and makes it that amongst the 

* Ibid. xiv. 6, xxv. 4. conspirators were his sons and the five. 

* Comp. 2 Kings xii. 21, with 2 Chr. 






The character and history of the Prophetic office have been 
already described. 1 The time is now reached when another 
and very different institution comes into view, not for the first 
time, but with the first direct demand upon our attention, as a 
ruling power in the State and Church of Judah. 

Of all the ordinances of sacred antiquity, the Priesthood 
is pe r haps the one in which ' the faculty of seeing differences ' 
is the most needed. The use of the same 2 name in most 
European languages for this office, and one or more functions 
in the Christian Church, has led to a confused notion of an 
identity in substance, which neither the original word nor the 

1 See Lectures XIX., XX. 

2 The Hebrew word Cohen (of which 
the exact meaning is unknown) corre- 
sponds, though with some important 
differences, to the Greek Hiereus and 
the Latin sacerdos. But in English, 
German, Italian, Spanish, and ordinary 
French, these words are rendered by 
Priest, or the cognate words derived from 
the Greek Presbyter, ' elder ' — which 
designates an office both in the Old and 
New Testament, quite different from that 
of the Cohen, and which in common Greek 
has no connexion at all with religious 
functions. This confusion has further been 
increased by the application of the word 
'Priest,' in most modern languages, not 
only to the Jewish Cohen, but to the 
second of the three orders of the Christian 
clergy. It is true that in the Presbyterian 
Churches of Scotland and Germany, the 
word is not applied to their own ministers. 
Bat even by them it is applied to the 
clergy of the Greek and Roman Catholic 

Church, who apply it also to themselves. 
The English Protestant version has 
avoided this confusion by using the word 
' eldet ' as the translation of Presbyter^ 
and the word ' Priest ' only as the transla- 
tion of Hiereus. But the English Roman 
Catholic version (Douay), whilst it occa- 
sionally translated Presbyter by ' ancient,' 
has often translated it by ' Priest,' the 
same word that it employs for the transla- 
tion of Hiereus. In the French Protestant 
version this confusion has been avoided by 
the use of sacrijicateur for Hiereus and 
Cohen, though, on the other hand, it has 
introduced another complication by render- 
ing Presbyter sometimes pasteur, some- 
times ancien. The word sacrijicateur is 
misleading only from its implying as a 
constant act what only belongs to a por- 
tion of the history of the office. For the 
whole scheme of the Jewish priesthood, I 
must express my special obligations to 
Reland's Antiquities, and to Ewald's re- 
markable chapter in his Alterthiimer. 


actual circumstances of the case warrant. The Prophetical 
office, as we have ' seen, reached out of the Old Testament 
into the New, and has, to a certain extent, been continued to 
the Christian Church. But, as an institution, the power of the 
Jewish Priesthood passed away at the close of the Jewish 
dispensation. The Prophetic office contained in it elements in 
their own nature universal and eternal. The Jewish Priesthood 
was essentially Oriental, local, national, temporary. 

Still, in that limited sphere it had an important part to play, 
and the particular period of the history on which we have now 
entered, called forth some of its most striking characteristics. 
But its origin goes back to the earliest times. The 
the Priest- Mosaic ritual, however much we may question the 
antiquity of some of its details, contains, no doubt, 
the groundwork on which the subsequent system was founded. 
The first appearance of the Jewish Priesthood is marked by its 
coincidence with the two phases of life which coexisted at the 
time of the Exodus. There was no priestly caste at all till they 
had been familiarised with such an institution in Egypt. And 
its peculiar character was stamped upon it whilst the people 
were still pastoral, and while the tribe 2 was still in full force as 
a component part of the nation, when the manners of the 
people were still moulded in the fierce and hard temper of that 
primitive age. Unlike any similar sacred institution of Chris- 
tian times, the Priesthood was not an order, not even a caste or 
family. It was a tribe, a clan, consecrated to religious purposes 
by the nation itself. Not by the hands of Moses or of Aaron, 
but by the hands of the whole assembly of the children of 
Israel, the Levites were set apart, and then presented by Aaron 
as an offering of the children of Israel. 3 The first Chief Priest 
its con- is, in a peculiar and emphatic manner, represented as 
t n h e e X \ HhT th the Prince or Chief of the tribe. He is called beyond 
of Levi. an y other name, * Aaron 4 the Levite.' He was the 
eldest-born, ' the corner-stone ' of the clan. His distinguishing 
mark was the sceptre 5 or staff of the tribe. It was this which 
was laid up among the sacred treasures as the relic of that 

1 See Lecture XIX. ' See Lecture VII. ■ Num. viii. 5-1 1. 

4 Ex. iv. 14. See Ewald, Altcrthutner, 254, 301. '- Num. xvii. 8. See Ewald, ibid. 312. 


primitive time. And as he, so his tribe, retained, long after the 
conquest, their pastoral habits. Here and there, in every tribe, 1 
were to be seen patches of pasture land, on which no cornfield 
or vineyard of the agricultural life of Palestine could encroach, 
on which fed the flocks and herds of the shepherds of the tribe 
of Levi. 

The origin of the tribe introduces us to the peculiarity both 
of character and office which marks the Jewish Priesthood, 
its military Modern Priesthoods— nay, even most ancient Priest- 
character. hoods — have represented the peaceful element of the 
nations to which they have belonged. But the sons of Levi 
were essentially a warrior caste. As their first father, so were 
they : ' Instruments of cruelty were in their habitations. Fierce 
'was their anger, and cruel their wrath.' 2 Every step of their 
early history is marked deep in blood. The first is far back in 
their ancestral traditions, when the two 3 wild brothers appear 
side by side, hewing down with ruthless swords the defenceless 
Shechemites, and awakening the grief and indignation of the 
gentler Patriarch : 'Ye have troubled me.' 'O my soul, enter 
'not into their habitation.' 4 This remorseless energy was a 
concentration of the indomitable zeal which was to be the 
weapon (so to speak) of the whole Hebrew race in its conflicts 
with the world. Simeon reappears for a moment only in the 
doubtful story of Judith. 5 But Levi again and again re-enacts 
the same scene. The consecration of the tribe was no calm 
ceremonial in the solitude of the sanctuary. It was by the 
tremendous self-dedication to the work of exterminating the 
worshippers of the molten calf. The victims which they offered 
on their consecration were not innocent bullocks, but their 
brothers, their comrades, their neighbours. 6 And yet again, 
when the succession of the Priesthood was finally secured to 
the family of Aaron's eldest son, it was by the javelin of 
Phinehas, which pierced through and through the Israelite and 
his paramour. 'Behold, he shall have it, and his seed after 
' him, even the covenant of an everlasting Priesthood, because 
' he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the 

1 See Lecture XII. ' Ibid, xxxiv. 25. . 5 See Lecture XI L 

' Gen. xlix. 5,7. " Ibid, xxxiv. 30, xlix. 6. s Ex. xxxii. s^-ajk 

lect. xxxv. ITS MILITARY CHARACTER. 35 1 

1 children of Israel.' ! The Levite band that rallied round the 
ark, so far from being forbidden, like the clergy of modern 
times, to wear arms or to shed blood, were a band of determined 
soldiers, each with his 2 sword by his side, ready to defend and 
avenge the Divine Presence at the risk of their lives against the 
traitors within or enemies without the camp. So far from 
representing the elders, the old men, the ' Presbyters,' from 
whom the modern name of ■ priest ' is derived, they represented 
the flower of the nation's youth. The original Priesthood had, 
as it would seem, consisted, not of the fathers, but of the eldest 
sons of the different households, who brought to the active 
ministrations of the altar, not the decrepitude or wisdom of age, 
but the vigour and fierceness of youth. 3 'The young man the 
1 Levite,' 4 in direct contradistinction to the elders, was the 
name by which the ministering members of the tribe were 
called. Their music was the clanging trumpet or the dissonant 
ram's horn. 5 The morning hymn with which they raised the 
ark on their shoulders was the stirring war-cry : ' Rise up, O 
'Lord, and let Thine 6 enemies be scattered.' The address 
before the battle, which, in Grecian warfare, was the duty of 
the general, was in Israel to be uttered by the Priest. 7 And 
this martial character, though it was, as we shall see, consider- 
ably modified, yet continued almost unbroken till the age of 
Solomon, and never entirely ceased. The House of Ithamar, 
in all probability, 8 won their ascendency over the House of 
Eleazar, by some daring feat of Eli through which he obtained 
the office of Judge. His two sons, Hophni 9 and Phinehas, 
fell in battle before the ark. Abiathar 10 was the constant 
companion of David in the most adventurous days of his 
early life. Zadok was renowned as H a warrior long before he 
came to the court of David as Priest. Their two sons, Ahimaaz 
and Jonathan, their natural successors in the office, were cele- 
brated, not for learning or piety, but for their speed or agility. 12 

1 Num. xxv. 11-13. * Num. x. 1-10 ; Josh. vi. 6, &c. ; 

a Ex. xxxii. 27 : 1 Or. xxvi. 6-8, 12 2 Chr. xiii. 14. 

(Heb.) ; 2 Chr. xxvi. 17 (Heb.). ■ Num. x. 35. T Deut. xx. 2. 

1 Ibid. xxiv. 20. See this whole aspect * See Lecture XVII. • 1 Sam. iv. 17. 

well brought out in Ewald, AlterthUrrur, ,0 See Lecture XXII. 

273, 294-296. " 1 Chr. xii. 28. 

* Judg. xviii. 3, 15. " See Lecture XXIV. 

352 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lect. xxxti. 

Benaiah, the captain of the king's guard in David's reign, and 
captain of the host in Solomon's, was a Priest. 1 And although, 
in that peaceful period, the sword of the Priestly caste was laid 
aside, and the trumpet exchanged in great part for the harp 
and the cymbal, yet still from time to time the ancient fire re- 
appeared. The Priests were present with sounding trumpets 
to proclaim a sacred war against 2 Jeroboam. Jehoiada arrayed 
his armed Levites with a strategy worthy of an experienced 
general for his stroke of state. 3 In the greatest military struggle 
which the Jewish nation ever sustained — in the insurrection 
against Antiochus Epiphanes— their leaders were not Prophets 
or Princes, but Priests. By acts of valour and self-devotion, 
like those of Levi, of Phinehas, and of Benaiah, the Priestly 
race of the Maccabees won their way to regal power ; and in 
the final conflict with the Romans, the writer who records it, 
whose work is pronounced by Niebuhr 4 the best military his- 
tory of ancient times after Caesar's Commentaries, and who him- 
self took no mean part in it, was Joseph, or Josephus, the Priest. 

Such was the first natural aspect of the Jewish Priesthood, 
the Praetorian Guard, the Janissaries, the watchdogs round the 
sacred shrine, like the Koreish tribe round the Kaaba of Mecca. 
They were literally a living 5 sacrifice — the consecration of the 
martial spirit of a martial and courageous people, needing for 
their office, not the thinking head or the feeling heart, but the 
stalwart arm, the fleet foot, and the determined will. 

But within this outer dedication of the tribe, there was the 
further dedication to the actual ministrations of the public 
The sacri- worship of the nation. Here, again, we must dismiss 
fices. f rom our minds all that we commonly associate with 

the idea of worship. The arrangements of the Temple were, 
as has been truly said, not those of a cathedral or a church, but 
of a vast slaughter-house, combined with a banqueting hall. 
Droves of oxen, sheep, and goats crowded the courts. Here 
were the rings 6 to which they were fastened. There was the 

1 See Lecture XXIII. in 2 Chr. xxiii. 7 implies the military 

* 2 Chr. xiii. 12, 14. character of the Levites. 

3 Ibid, xxiii. 1-7. Even if we accept * Lectures on Roman History, iii. 205. 

the account in 2 Kings xi. 8-1 1, to the ex- 5 Num. viii. 10, &c. 

elusion of 2 Chr, xxiii. 4, 5, the expression 6 See Reland's Antiquities- 

lect. xxxvr. THE SACRIFICES. 353 

huge altar, towering above the people, on which the carcases 
were laid to be roasted. Underneath was the drain to carry off 
the streams of blood. 1 Close by was the apparatus 2 for skin- 
ning and fleecing them. Round the court were the kitchens 
for cooking the meat. The stench was abated by the fumiga- 
tion of incense. For that which constitutes Christian devotion 
— prayer, praise, commemoration, exhortation — there was not 
in the original Mosaic ritual any provision. 

The intrinsic meaning of ancient sacrifice lay in its open- 
ing an approach to God by a gift of the offerer, a gift valuable 
in proportion as it represented the entire dedication of the life. 
Hence the prominence of the warm flowing blood in the 
ancient world, inseparably 3 connected with the idea of life. 
Hence the tendency to human sacrifice, always thrusting itself 
forward by the logical necessity of the case, but always re- 
pressed by the precepts of the law, humaner and loftier than 
any logic, whether of fact or feeling. Hence the correspon- 
dence which Psalmists first, and Apostles afterwards, found 
between this outward offering and the complete offering of the 
heart and will, 4 of which all sacrifice, heathen and Jewish alike, 
was but the faint symbolical likeness. ' Verum sacrificium 
1 est omne opus, quod agitur, ut sancta societate ha^reamus 
'Deo.' 5 

But these ideas lie unexpressed in the worship itself. All 
that was seen in the Mosaic system was the mechanical obser 
vance of acts which, to our minds, not only fail to convey any 
religious idea, but are associated with one of the coarsest of 
human occupations. For this purpose, as for the defence of 
the shrine, not moral or intellectual qualifications were chiefly 
needed. The robust frame, which could endure the endless 
routine of the sacrifices and carry away the bleeding 6 remains, 
the quick eye and ready arm which could strike the fatal blow, 
these were naturally inherent in the fierce tribe of soldier-shep- 
herds, and these were accordingly dedicated to the Temple ser- 
vice. Those who were prepared to wash their feet in the blood 

1 The blood, according to Deut. xii. ' Sec Ewald, Alter. 29, 48, 59, 80-84. 

17, was poured upon (according to Lev. i. 4 Ps. xl. 7, I. 23, li. 17 ; Heb. x. 7. 

5, ftc, round) the altar. ■ Augustine, De Civitate Dei, x. 6. 

1 Ezek. xl. 42, 43, xlvi. 23. ■ Lev. iv. 5-12. 
II. A A 

354 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lect. xxxvi. 

of the living enemies of their country, and to shed their own 
blood in the vanguard of the Israelite host, were not unsuited 
to the more tranquil, though not less sanguinary, 1 work of the 
sacrifices. Those who still retained the habits of the ancient 
tribe, in their hereditary pastures round the Levitical cities, 
would be equal to the task of marshalling and managing the 
herds and flocks that crowded the Temple courts on great fes- 
tivals. The actual hewing of wood and drawing of water was 
left to inferior ministers, but the main labours of the sacrificial 
system itself could be discharged only by the noble and august 
hands of the Sacred tribe. 

Yet we cannot doubt that this merely external ritual — these 
ordinances which, if ever any, deserve the name given to them 
by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ' carnal,' 'fleshy,' 
bound up with the raw and bleeding flesh of irrational animals 
— partook of the elevating character of the Religion which they 
represented. Those who have seen the solemn though start- 
ling effect of the Samaritan sacrifice on Mount Gerizim, the 
sturdy and comely youths holding the struggling sheep with a 
firm yet gentle grasp, the bright knives flashing in the depart- 
ing sunlight, the sudden quick stroke with which the animals 
lay dead on the ground, will have no difficulty in conceiving 
how a higher association could glorify even the meanest of 
trades and the most mechanical of arts. Butcher and Priest 
are now the two extremes of the social scale. A fine moral lesson 
is involved in the fact that they were once almost identical. 2 

Moreover, the Sacred records themselves suffice to give us 
some notion of the modes by which the acts and profession of 
the Priesthood were distinguished from those of merely secular 
life. Like slavery, like polygamy, like the law of retaliation, of 
the avenger of blood, the institutions of sacrifice and of priest- 
hood were not created at Sinai; they were 3 adopted from the 

* It is not clear whether the Priests xxix. 22, &c, by the Priests. See Reland's 

killed the victims with their own hands Antiquities, iii. 18. Michaelis, Laws of 

In Lev. i. 5, 11 ; iii. 2, 8, 13 ; iv. 4, 24, 29, Moses, Art. 164. Bahr's Symbolik, ii. 308. 
they are to be killed not by the Priest * Ovcrai (comp. John x. 10 ; Acts x. 13) 

but by the officer. This, perhaps, was a is equally ' to sacrifice ' or 'to kill an 

remnant of the original Priesthood of the 'animal.' Comp. Lecture XXX. 
whole nation described in Ex. xix. 6 (see a See this well explained in Professor 

p. 356). But in 2 Chr. xxxv. n, the Gold win Smith's work, Does the Biile 

victims are^killed by -the Levites ; in 2 Chr. sanction Slavery t 

lbct. xxxvi. THE SACRIFICES. 355 

already existing traditions of the world, but restrained, modified, 
and elevated by the peculiar spirit of the Jewish religion. The 
slaughter of mere dumb animals may seem to us a strange 
mode of approaching the Divine Presence, but we must re- 
member that it was humanity and civilisation itself, if compared 
with the practices of the surrounding nations. Sacrifice they 
all had in common. But whilst the sacrifices on Moriah con- 
sisted of the innocent slaughter of goats and sheep, the sacri- 
fices of Moab and Amnion, the sacrifices in the valley of 
Hinnom, and on the heights of Olivet, were of men and women 
and children. Often as human sacrifice ' intruded itself into 
the Jewish religion, it was never formally authorised. 

The Priesthood, in like manner, was an institution adopted 
from the customs of the whole primaeval world. In its outward 
forms we seem to hear 

Notes that are 
The ghostly language of the ancient earth, 
Or make their dim abode in distant winds. 

Of some few the original spirit may be faintly discerned, the 
extreme and punctilious cleanliness, the attempt to maintain a 
rigid simplicity in the details of the 2 office, the prohibition of 
blemish and disfigurement, are qualifications of which the force 
has been acknowledged in various degrees for the ministers of 
religion, even in Christian countries. But there is yet a higher 
idea which penetrates and transfigures the office. The Priests 
„ were those that 'drew near to God,' and thus occu- 


tativesof pied, to some extent, the vacant space which for 

the nation. , . ... . . . . . 

other nations was filled with statues and imagery. 
This position was materially affected by the higher truths both 
of the Divinity who was worshipped, and the people who were 
worshippers. The Priests were to exhibit, as it were, in dumb 
show, the greatness of the Divine Cause, which they were 
pledged to defend with their swords. They were to exhibit, as 
in a silent mirror, as in a concentrated focus, the mind of the 
people whom they represented. The very limitation 3 of the 

1 See Lectures II., XVI., XXI. ■ See Ewald, Alterthumer, 287. 

1 See Kurtz's Sacrificial System. 

A A 2 

356 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lbct. xxxvi. 

office arose from the fact that it was in its first beginning a 
modification of an original idea of a much grander and wider 
import. The Israelite nation itself was intended to be its 
own Priesthood. 'Ye are a royal Priesthood,' 'a kingdom of 
' Priests.' 1 It was only from the failure of this, that the sepa- 
rate, local Priesthood was provided as a substitute and supple- 
ment. It was to exhibit an Israel within Israel ; not in that 
deeper sense in which the Prophets afterwards 2 represented the 
sime truth, but an outward reflection of the people to them- 
selves in their relations to God. Whichever way the Priest, 
especially the High Priest, turned, during his public celebra- 
tions—whatever he did, every gesture, every colour, every 
ornament was a kind of moving picture, in which the Israelite 
was reminded of the Invisible Ruler ; in which the Invisible 
Ruler was (if one may so say) to be reminded of His earthly 
and distant subjects. On the gold plate which glittered from 
afar on the High Priest's forehead, and which was handed on 
from age to age, and survived even the fall of the whole Jewish 
system, when it was carried off with the spoils of the Temple 
to Rome, 3 the nation saw the pledge of their special nearness 
to the Eternal, whose name was 4 inscribed upon it. In the 
twelve jewels which shone upon his breast they recognised 
themselves ; he was ' to bear the names of the twelve tribes on 
1 his heart, for a memorial before Jehovah 5 continually.' When 
he passed out of their sight into the innermost recess of Taber- 
nacle or Temple, they could still track his course by the tink- 
ling of the silver 6 bells that hung on his mantle, and seemed 
to enable them to enter with him into the Holy of Holies. 
When the sacred oil 7 was poured upon his head, and flowed 
over his streaming beard, and enveloped in its fragrant odour 
the very 8 outskirts of his dress, it seemed to be a consecration 
of themselves, a likeness of the brotherly covenant that should 
unite all parts of the Israelite commonwealth together. When 

1 i Peter ii. 9 ; Exod. xix. 6. ' Ex. xxviii. 35 ; Ecclus. xlv. 9. 

* See Lecture XL. * The anointing was discontinued 
3 See the quotation from the Gemara after the Captivity. From the time of the 

in Reland, De Spoliis Templi, cap. 13. monarchy it was shared with the Kings 

* Ex. xxviii. 36. (Reland). 

' Ibid. 29. Ewald, Alterth. 304. * Ps. cxxxiii. 2. 

lbct. xxxvi. ITS TEACHING FUNCTION. 357 

the warm blood of the slaughtered ' ram left its red stain on 
the ears and thumbs and toes of the Priestly family j when 
their hands were 2 filled with the smoking entrails of the vic- 
tims and with the cakes of consecrated bread, it was the inti- 
mation that the self-sacrifice of the whole nation was acted in 
their persons ; and when the Priests in turn laid their hands 
on the dead animal, or turned loose the wild goat into the 
desert, or carried the drops of blood to the altar and the sanc- 
tuary, and threw up the cloud of incense, it was as though, by 
an electric affinity, the sins, the energy, the devotion of the 
people penetrated into the presence of the unseen world. The 
imposition of hands 3 on the head was the form alike of dedi- 
cating the victim and the Levite. In each case the spark of 
life was conveyed, through the hands and fingers, full of vital 
warmth, into the recipient ; as if magnetically to communicate 
the spirit and will, as the case might be, of the Israelite who 
offered the victim, of the Israelitish people who offered the 
Levite. When the new High Priest was clad from head to 
foot 4 in the robes of his predecessor, and the Priests appeared 
on great days in their white mantles, there were at least some 
to whom the sight suggested the aspiration after a higher inves- 
titure of moral qualities. ' Let Thy Priests be clothed with 
' righteousness.' ' I will clothe her Priests with salvation.' ' I 
' have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe 
* thee with a change of raiment.' 5 

There were, in addition to these national and symbolical 
functions, a few subordinate duties of the Levitical Priesthood, 
Subordinate wn ^ cn gi ye **» m tne Christian sense of the word, 
duties of something of a directly religious character. Within a 

instruction. ...... , , , , 

very limited circle, probably merely for the sake of 
pointing out ceremonial offerings or duties, they were to teach 

1 Ex. xxix. 20. Ewald, Alterth. 270. Alterthumer, 44. 

1 This was the act of consecration, * This, after the Captivity, was the 

which is always designated in the Hebrew »nly consecration. He wore the vestments 

by this expression. cnly in the Temple. After the banish- 

3 The officer, not the Priest, laid his ment of Archelaus, they were kept in the 

hands on the head of the victim (Lev. i. 6). fortress of Antonia, and given out on the 

The people, not the Priests, laid their four great solemnities (Joseph. Ant. xv. 11. 

hands on the head of the Levite (Num. § 5 ; Reland, Antiquities, ii. 1, § 11). 

riii. 10). For the whole idea, see Ewald, * Ps. cxxxii. 9, 16 ; Zech. iii. 4. 

358 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lect. xxxvi. 

the frequenters of the Temple, and judge for them the compli- 
cated questions of ceremonial casuistry ; and further to preserve, 
and from time to time to recite, the precepts of the law. l Their 
aggregation in particular cities precludes the 2 notion of their 
having been employed as general instructors. But, doubtless, as 
the moral and spiritual character of the religion was developed, 
the area of their teaching was enlarged. The Levites especially 
took part in the instruction, and this widened the 3 breach which 
existed more or less between them and the Priests. ' A teaching 4 
1 Priest ' was regarded as an object to be desired, and there was 
* a 5 knowledge ' of which his lips were claimed to be the guar- 
dians. Now and then, as in the case of Jeremiah and 6 Ezekiel, 
a prophet rose out of their ranks ; and in Ezra there took place 
the union, ominous for evil, when viewed in connexion with its 
terrible future, but for the time indicating the highest spiritual 
point to which the Levitical functions ever reached, the union 
of Priest and Scribe. It was this union, doubtless, that, whether 
in Ezra or his successors, produced one of the chief Levitical 
books of the Hebrew Scriptures— in which the priestly character 7 
is the most apparent — the Book of Chronicles. Though the 
latest of all the Canonical writings— latest, probably, in point 
of time, last certainly in the place which it holds in the original 
Canon — it represents the workmanship of many generations. 
It resembles the structure of an ancient cathedral, with fragments 
of every style worked into the building as it proceeded ; here 
a piece of the most hoary antiquity, there a precious relic of 
a lost hymn or genealogy of some renowned psalmist or warrior, 
but all preserved, and wrought together, as by the workmen of 
mediaeval times, under the guidance of the same sacerdotal 
mind, with the spirit of the same Priestly order. Far below 

1 Deut. xxi. 5, xvii. 8-13, 18, xxxi. 10- the duties of clergy in regard to religious 
13 ; Ezek. xliv. 23, 24. instruction, and what we should call the 

2 See Michaelis on the Laws of Moses, cure of souls. 

Art. 52. He takes a somewhat wider view 3 2 Chr. xxix. 34. 

of the teaching duties of the Levites than * Ibid. xv. 3. 

has been here described, but points out s Malachi ii. 7. See Ewald, ii. 98. 

clearly how the mere circumstance of the e See Lecture XL. 

Priests and Levites having their fixed ' See a well-weighed statement of the 

abode in forty-eight distinct cities of their case, in Dean Milman's History tf the 

own incapacitated them from performing Jews, i. 32?. 

w«. xxxti. ITS FUNCTIONS. 359 

the Prophetic l books of the Kings in interest and solidity, 
it yet furnishes a useful counterpart by filling up the voids 
with materials which none but the peculiar traditions and 
feelings of the Levitical caste could have supplied. It is the 
culminating point of the purely Levitical system, both in what 
it relates, in what it omits, and the manner of its relations and 
its omissions. 

Side by side with this occasional and undefined duty of 
instruction were two other functions, of which one died out 
Oracular early — the other, alone of all, has lasted to this day. 
responses. j n t he chief Priest resided a power of oracular re- 
sponse to inquirers on certain great emergencies. Unlike the 
great Prophetic messages which came, each charged with the 
spirit dwelling within the Prophet himself, stamped with his 
peculiar style, clothed in his peculiar imagery, carrying with it 
principles of eternal truth and morality, the answers of the High 
Priest had no connexion with his moral being, and were confined 
within a circle as narrow and outward as the office which he 
held. They were, in some unexplained manner, uttered or con- 
veyed, not by himself so much as by his mere outward vestment 
or ornament. The jewels which hung on his neck or breastplate 
— like those worn by the priests of Egypt — or the white cape 
(Ephod) which was thrown over his shoulders, sufficed for the 
purpose. Even the Ephod 2 itself, beside the Priest, seems to 
have been used for this object. And the answers which were 
given were limited with the strictest reserve to the immediate 
occasion which evoked them — hardly more 3 than an affirmative 
or negative — never more than a 4 single positive statement or 
command. Of all the institutions of the Jewish Church, it is 
the one which approached most nearly to the divinations and 
oracles of the heathen world, and, as such, it was the first to 
pass away. The latest High Priest who was thus consulted was 
he who especially belonged to the older age, Abiathar, the last 
of the house of Ithamar, and, with him, according to the Jewish 
tradition, the power expired. In the period on which we now 
enter it never appears. The 'Light and Truth,' which the 

1 ' The Book of Kings goes a hundred * i Sam. xiv. 3, 18 (LXX.), xxiii. 6, 9. 

' thousand steps before him who wrote the ' Judg. xx. iS ; 1 Sam. xiv. 37, xxiii 

'Chronicles' (Luther). 11, 12. " lb! J. i. 2 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 1. 

360 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. use*, xxxti. 

words ' Urim ' and ' Thummim ' * seemed to express, grew 
orighter and brighter as this its outward symbol was lost. ' A 
' Priest with Urim and Thummim ' l was hoped for, but never 
seen, after the Captivity ; and the last prophetic or inspired 
utterance that a Jewish 2 High Priest ever delivered was of so 
terrible an import as to cast a shade on all like responses which 
had ever issued from that office. 

The one remaining function to be noticed wa6 of a more 
elevating and enduring kind. The Priests had the peculiar 
Benedic- privilege of pronouncing a solemn benediction on the 
tions. people. 3 It was in that triple form which conveyed 

a sense of absolute completeness, and, according to Jewish 
belief, was pronounced with a corresponding triple division of 
the fingers of the upraised hand. The 4 hand spread over the 
people seemed to give back to them the life which had been, 
by the touch of their hands, communicated to the Priest. The 
hand of a Priest was lifted above the head ; of a High Priest, 
above the shoulders. And the word 'Jehovah,' which, in later 
days, was elsewhere altered to 'Adonai,' in this solemn act was 
retained unchanged, as if in a Sacred charm. 5 Alone of the 
many occupations of the Jewish Priests, this is retained by their 
descendants at the present day, in however degraded and secular 
condition they may be. The ancient melody of the blessing is 
said to be preserve^ in the chants of the Spanish and Portuguese 
synagogues. 6 Alone of their many vocations — military, nomadic, 
ceremonial, sacrificial, dramatic, judicial, oracular — it has passed 
into the Christian Church. The upraised hand is still preserved 
by the Presbyterian clergy of Scotland. In the Church of Eng- 
land, when once a year the clergyman lis required to make a 
slight variation from the usual Christian words of public bene- 
diction, and recur to the older form, and again when by the 
side of the sick and dying he appeals to the simplest and 
most natural feelings of the human heart, in these alone of all 
his ministrations he has preserved a fragment of the ancient 

1 Neh. vii. 65. a John xi. 49-51. s See Reland's Antiquities. 

* Num. vi. 22-27. " Engel's History 9/ Ancient Music, 

* Ley. x. 22. See Ewald, Alter- 114, 325. 
thUmer 44 



Levitical ritual, and stands in the place of a genuine son of 
Aaron — l 

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee ; 

The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto 

The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 

It will naturally be supposed that if we turn from the office to 
its history, the personal interest is less than that of any other of 
History of tne great Jewish institutions. The Prophet and the 
the office. King had each his own characteristic qualifications. 
A bad King or a false Prophet was felt immediately to have 
acted in direct contradiction to his office. But the Priestly 
functions were almost wholly independent of any other con- 
ditions than those of a physical and ceremonial nature. The 
office descended in earlier times, as a mere matter of course, 
from father to son ; and the mode of inaugurating a new High 
Priest indicated unmistakably its purely external character. 
The Priestly robes were handed on from generation to genera- 
tion, and when the successor dressed himself in his dead pre- 
decessor's clothes, he was for all sufficient purposes a living 
continuation of the office of which the outer vestment, rather 
than the inward character, was the essential element. Very 
rarely did the Israelite Priests act an independent part of their 
Connexion own - ^o ^ ^ Tom representing anything like the 
^ h r l a he separate spiritual power of modern hierarchies, they 
condition of are completely incorporated with the civil institutions 
of the nation, and with very few exceptions swayed 
to and fro by its influences. In spite of their pasture-lands, 
they often appear to have been a needy and ill-provided class. 
The Levites are constantly reckoned amongst the objects of 
eleemosynary support, 2 and are described as dependent on 
irregular channels for their supplies even of ordinary food. A 
good piece 3 of roast flesh — a 4 jovial supper — a cake of bread * 
— the remains of the meat offerings and drink offerings 6 — the 

4 Commination Service and Visitation Part 3, §4 650, 672. 
of the Sick. 3 1 Sam. ii. 15. * Judg. xix. 4, 5, 8. 

1 Peut. xii. 12, 18, xiv. 29, xvi. n, 14. * 1 Sam. ii. 36. 

Seethe Bishop of Natal on the Pentateuc h, * Joel i. 9, 13, ii. 13. 

362 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lect. xxxvi. 

heaps of corn, olives, and honey l that were laid in the Temple 
courts, were the avowed objects of the homely ambition of the 
Jewish hierarchy. In the desert the order was controlled by 
the supreme power of the great Lawgiver. Through him, and 
not through Aaron, are 2 communicated the ordinances of its 
existence. By him, 3 and not by Aaron, not Aaron only but 
Aaron's sons were anointed for their office. In the order of 
the precedence in the Court of David they rank after the com- 
mander-in-chief and the historiographer. 4 One instance is 
recorded of a violent attempt to snatch at wider power ; but 
that is within the sacred tribe itself; not of the Priesthood 
against the supreme jurisdiction of Moses, but of the Levites 
against the Priesthood. 5 In the lawless period of the Judges, 
the sacerdotal caste largely shared in the wild, licentious cha- 
racter of the whole age. The Levite of Dan, the Levite of 
Bethlehem, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli himself, were average 
types of the disorder of the time. They rarely rise above it ; 
they never herald the approach of better days. After the esta- 
blishment of the monarchy they become, far more than Prophet 
or Captain of the Host, mere instruments in the hands of the 
King. The King was himself a partaker in the consecration of 
their own sacred oil. Ahimelech trembles at the least thought 
of resistance 6 to Saul's despotic will. He and his whole house 
are swept away apparently with a less shock to the national 
conscience, with a less 7 guilt on Saul's part than was incurred 
by the slaughter of the Canaanite outcasts, the Gibeonites. 
Abiathar, his son, 8 was deposed by Solomon. Zadok was, it 
would seem, appointed by Saul, and established first in joint 
possession of the Priesthood by David, and then in sole pos- 
session by Solomon. The influence of these great Princes was 
nowhere more powerfully exercised than in their modification 
of the Priestly offices, the duties of which were laid down by 

1 2 Chr. xxxi. 5-10. Compare Ex. ' 1 Sam. xxii. 18 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 2. 
xxix. 28. Contrast this with the importance ascribed 

2 Ex. xxviii. i-xxix. 28. by the Rabbinical traditions to the 

* Ibid. xl. 12-16. slaughter of Ahimelech, which, in their 

* 2 Sam. viii. i6-r8. But in 1 Kings judgment, was the cause of David's mis- 
iv. 1-6 (LXX.) the Chief Priest is put next fortunes. (See Jerome, Qu. Heb. on 2 
after the King. Sam. xv. 7.) 

* Nam, xvi. 7-10. 6 1 Sam. xxi. 1. 8 See Lecture XXVI. 

lbct. xxxvi. ITS HISTORY. 363 

Solomon with a minute and rigorous care equal to any now 
exercised in the Christian Church by the most vigilant of 

Nothing shows more strikingly the vivifying and renovating 
power of these reigns than that even into this cold mechanism 
they infused a new life, and therefore a new importance. Then, 
for the first time, the military character of the order gives way 
to more peaceful influences j the gentler music of the Prophetic 
schools is added in the Levitical service to the wild trumpets 
and dissonant horns of the earlier age ; and hymns and prayers 
enter into the mute Priestly functions. Then also it broke 
its strict hereditary bounds. Some of its highest functions, 
those of sacrifice and benediction, were performed by the two 
powerful ! Kings, who united in their persons to a degree un- 
known before, the royal and sacerdotal offices. Even the 
inferior members of the royal family shared in the same en- 
largement, and are enrolled by the sacred writers amongst ' the 
1 Priests ' with a boldness which, of all the great versions of 
the Old Testament, the Vulgate alone has had the honesty 
and the courage thoroughly 2 to recognise. But, although this 
was a temporary phase of its history, the Jewish Priesthood 
then received an impulse in Judah which it has never since 
lost. In the kingdom of Israel, the mere fact of the religious 
revolution of Jeroboam cut them off from occupying any im- 
portant position. But this very circumstance threw them with 
its growth greater force on the kingdom of Judah. As from 
kingdom of tne ti me °f tne disruption, the northern kingdom was, 
judah, as we have seerij t h e chief scene of the influence of the 
Prophets, so the southern was the chief scene of the influence 
of the Priests. The geographical situation of the Priestly cities, 
in the southern tribes of Judah, Simeon, 3 and Benjamin, 
doubtless contributed to this result. The Priesthood which 
had been in the time of David divided between 4 three com- 
petitors, in the time of Solomon between two, was at last con- 
centrated in the single person of the chief descendant of 

' See Lectures XXIII., XXVII. ' rulers ; ' the Vulgate always ' sacerdotes.' 
* 2 Sam. viii. iS ; i Kings iv. 5. The ' Josh. xxi. 11-19 ; 1 Chr. vi. 54-60. 

LXX. translated sometimes It pels, some- 4 Zadok and Abiathar, and (1 Chr 

times avAapxat; the A.V. always 'chief xxvii. 5) Jehoiada the First. 

364 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lect. xxxti. 

Zadok, who in the time of Jehoiada assumed for the first l or 
nearly the first time, the title of ' High Priest.' Under him 
after the there occasionally appears a ' Second Priest,' and 
captivity. un der these an indefinite number, 2 known as ' the 
* doorkeepers.' Jehoiada, Azariah, Hilkiah, Jeremiah, and 
Ezekiel are amongst the chief personages of the later history. 
After the return, Ezra, Joshua, Simon the Just, and Jaddua 
figure as conspicuously. And in the Maccabees, for the first 
time since Eli, a priestly dynasty mounts the throne ; and, 
though at last rendered still more dependent on the will of the 
Roman governors than it had formerly been on that of the 
Jewish Kings, the High Priesthood retained its hold on the 
nation till the end, and disappeared only with the fall of 
Jerusalem, whilst the Priestly and Levitical functions have 
continued even to this day. 3 

It will be seen that, in point of religious importance, the 
Levitical Priesthood was inferior not only to the Prophetic 
its inferior office which stood in direct antagonism, but to the 
place. Lawgiver, the King, and the Psalmist. Moses was 

incomparably superior to Aaron, David to Abiathar, Solomon 
to Zadok. The vices, even the idolatries of the kingdom of 
Judah, received from them hardly any rebuke. They served, 
as it would appear, the altars of the false gods, 4 as well as of 
the true. Full of interest and beauty as is the Book of 
Chronicles, it yet, least of any of the sacred books, partakes of 
the supernatural gift of courageous impartiality which else- 
where is so remarkable. The whole sacrificial system to which 
they administered awakened, in the highest spirits of the 
Jewish Church itself, a feeling almost amounting to aversion. 

1 The only exceptions are Lev. xxi. 10 ; been much more numerous since the mas- 
1 Chr. xxvii. 5. sacre of Nob (see Lecture XXI ) See Jer. 

2 2 Kings xii. 9, xxiii. 4, xxv. 18. xxxiii. 18, 21, 22 ; Ezek. xl. 46, xliii. 19, 
* In the later Prophetic literature, the xliv. 10, 15, xlv. 5, xlviii. 13 ; Mai. ii. 4, 8, 

words ' Priest ' and ' Levite ' are used as if iii. 3. The same usage prevails in Deut. 

synonymous. This may have arisen from x. 8, 9, xvii. 9, 18, xviii. 1, xxi. 5, xxiv. 8, 

the gradual diminution of the Aaronic xxvii. 9, xxxi. 9. This peculiarity of 

family, which at the time of the destruc- phraseology is well put in the Bishop of 

tion of Jerusalem seems to have been re- Natal's work on the Pentateuch, Part 3, 

duced to five (2 Kings xxv. 18 ; comp. §§ 542, 630, 668. 
xxiii. 4, xii. 9) ; and which, even under * Ezek. xx. 31. 

the earlier Kings, does not seem to have 

lbct. xxxvi. ITS INFERIOR PLACE. 365 

Its inferiority to the rest of the Mosaic revelation is stated by 
the Prophets in terms so strong as almost to reject it from the 
category of divine ordinances at all. ' I spake not unto your 
' fathers, nor commanded them in the ! day that I brought 
' them out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings or 
'sacrifices.' 'Sacrifice 2 and burnt offering Thou didst not 
• desire.' 'Was it to 3 Me that ye offered sacrifices and burnt 
' offerings during the forty years in the wilderness ? ' 'I 
' delight not in the blood of bullocks or 4 of lambs or of 
' he-goats.' ' I hate and despise your feast days. 5 . . . Though 
' ye offer Me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will 
' not accept them : neither will I regard the peace offerings of 
1 your fat beasts.' Leave as much room as we will for Oriental 
diction, grant that the expressions may have been sharpened 
by the peculiar circumstances of the time, still the contempt, 
the irony, the disgust expressed at the very thought of the 
slaughtered victims, has a strength which must be of universal 
significance, and which could hardly be exceeded by the dis- 
dainful language of Western philosophy or modern Puritanism. 
In one remarkable passage, ascribed to Asaph the psalmist, 
this Prophetic protest is raised to the rank even of a new reve- 
lation. There God is described as descending on Mount 
Zion, in storm and fire, as He had before descended on Mount 
Sinai, and declaring not merely in the presence of His own 
people, but to the whole universe, a deeper and wider law even 
than that of Moses. He the Lord of the world stood in no 
need of sacrifices. It was not to be thought that He, to whom 
belonged the numberless cattle that strayed over hill and 
forest, could desire to devour the flesh of bulls, or drink the 
warm blood of the goat. The only sacrifice which He could 
value was that of thanksgiving, of prayer, and of a life just, 
pure, tender, and true. 6 This is a lesson from the history of 
the Jewish Priesthood which, in spite of its wide difference 
from all Christian ministries and priesthoods, they may still 
derive from it Any religious institution which has an outward 

1 Jer vii. 22. * Ps. xl. 6. * Isa. i. 11. * Am<x y. 24. 

1 This seems the most probable sense * Ps. 1. 1. », 12, 13, 14, 23. 

of Amos v. 25 (Dr. Pusey). 

366 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lect. xxxvt. 

organisation and a long traditional sanctity must, in some 
degree, be exposed to the tendency of resting, like the Jewish 
Priesthood, in the substitution of dogma, ceremony, antiquity, 
for morality and devotion. That the Levitical ritual should, 
even in the very time of its importance, and, we may add, of 
its usefulness, have called down those terrible denunciations, is 
one of the strongest warnings which the Bible contains against 
the letter — the form — the husk — of religion, however near its 
connexion with the most sacred truths. The crime of Caiaphas 
is the last culminating proof that the opposition of the Prophets 
to the growth of the Priestly and Sacrificial system was based 
on an eternal principle, which carries with it a rebuke to the 
office which bears the name of Priesthood throughout the world. 
But we must not so part with this great institution. That 
in spite of those tremendous denunciations, and in spite of 
its import- those awful consequences of its tendencies, it should 
ance. h ave existed at all, and received a sanction, however 

limited, is an instance of the many-sided character of the 
Sacred History. The Jewish Priesthood was, as I have said, 
the mere skeleton of the Jewish religion ; but it may also be 
its perti- sa id to have been its backbone. It was its husk ; but 

nacity. j t ma y a } SQ fog g^ t0 h ave b een fa fo^ft s ^ e \l What 

Goethe has finely remarked of the Jewish people itself, that its 
chief claim before the judgment-seat of nations is its steadfast- 
ness, cohesion, and obstinate toughness, is exemplified in its 
fullest degree in its Priesthood. l Compared with the high and re- 
fined functions of Prophet, and King, and Psalmist, it repels us 
by the coarseness of its grain, and the rudeness of its objects j 
but in sheer persistence and longevity it surpassed them all. 
It is a dynasty which began before the monarchy, almost before 
the Prophets. It outlived the monarchy altogether. It lived 
on through periods when Prophecy had totally ceased. It 
witnessed the fall of the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, 

1 ' At the judgment-seat of the God of ' valour, and, when all this could not serve, 

' nations, it is not asked whether this is the ' in obstinate toughness, it has no match, 

'best, the most excellent nation,' but 'It is the most perseverant nation in the 

1 whether it lasts, whether it has continued. ' world : it is, it was, it will be to glorify 

'The Israelitish people . . . possesses few ' the name of Jehovah through all ages.' — 

' virtues and most of the faults of other Wilheltn Meister, Travels, chap. xi. 
' nations ; but in cohesion, steadfastness, 

mct. xxxvi. ITS IMPORTANCE. 367 

Persian, and Grecian empires. It formed the rallying-point of 
the Jewish nation in the immense void of the return from the 
Captivity, in the death-struggle with Antiochus ; and in the 
last agony of the nation, the High Priesthood is the last insti- 
tution visible before the final crash of the system. And al- 
though since that time it has sunk into an insignificance which 
accords well with its secular and earthly character, yet it is the 
only institution dating back as far as the monarchy, which has 
survived even in form. The family names of ' Cohen ' and 
* Levy ' still bear witness to the long recollection of ' the 
' Priest' and 'the Levite.' The offices still linger, though in a 
form which shows, if proof were needed, how entirely distinct 
they are from the higher spiritual functions of teacher or 
preacher. The Priests still bless the people at the close of 
certain high ceremonies, and for a small fee ransom the first- 
born of Jewish families, and if present at the synagogue have 
a right to read the law before anyone else. The Levites pour 
water on the hands of the Priests before the blessing, and take 
precedence after them in reading the law. The triple fingers 
of the benediction mark the gravestone of a Priest ; the vase 
of water, the gravestone of a Levite. The meanness of their 
social position— without wealth, without dignity, without the 
right of preaching or exhortation — the mere appendage of 
some ordinary trade immensely inferior to the Rabbi, who is 
the real representative of the modern Jewish Church, is of 
itself a direct continuation of the essential characteristics of 
their ancient office. They are subordinate now, as they were 
subordinate during the larger part of their existence in ancient 
times. They are silent as teachers now, as they usually were 
before. Their functions are entirely mechanical now, as for 
the most part they were always. 

In the Samaritan community the office is somewhat more 
important. There the Rabbi has not assumed the position 
which he occupies in modern Judaism. The alleged descen- 
dants of Aaron, who are supposed to have continued at 
Shechem after their disappearance from Jerusalem, became 
extinct in the beginning ! of the seventeenth century. But 

» a.d. 1631. Milk's Nailus and Samaritans, p. i86. 

368 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. lkct. xxxvi. 

their functions were transferred to Levites, by whom they have 
been exercised ever since. 

To this tenacity of life it is owing that, when out of the 
ruin of the Jewish Church the Christian Church arose, the 
Christian Priesthood was the one fragment of the ancient 
dra5n atlons systems standing out in unbroken strength, on which 
from it. t hang the new truths which the Jewish Apostles 
had to present to their countrymen. They, indeed, by the 
spirit which was in them — their Master in the highest sense of 
all — continued the line of the Prophets far more directly than 
they could be said to continue or even to use the merely 
national and local institution of the Priesthood. Still, for most 
purposes of outward illustration, the Priesthood was more avail- 
able than the Prophetic office. The very destruction which 
was impending over it rendered more imperative the need of 
showing how completely all that it expressed, or could possibly 
express, was answered in the Christian dispensation, not by any 
earthly or ecclesiastical organisation, but by the spiritual near- 
ness to God, which, through the life and death of Christ, had 
been communicated to all who shared in His Spirit. The 
stream of precious oil which enveloped the High Priest had 
invested him, in a prominent degree, with the name of 'the 
' Messiah.' 'The Anointed Priest,' 'the Messiah Priest/ was 
one of the titles of his office. It was to the succession of the 
High Priesthood that even Christian writers applied ' the Mes- 
* siah ' of Daniel. ' And when the name of ' the Christ ' was 
added to Jesus, the son of Mary, the chief thought conveyed 
was the grand idea of His consecration for His special near- 
ness to God by that anointing of moral and spiritual fragrance, 
which breathed, as it were, myrrh, aloes, and cassia from all 
His garments. The ' blood of bulls, and goats, and calves,' is 
treated almost with the same contempt as it had been by the 
ancient Prophets. 2 But to those who had seen it flowing in 
the Courts of the Temple it is taken to remind them of 
the only true sacrifice in the holy blood 3 shed on Calvary — the 
sacrifice, not of dead, irrational animals, but of reasonable 4 

1 Dan. ix. 25, 26 ; Eus. H. E. i. 6. ' Heb. ix. 14. 

2 H«b. ix. 12, 13, x. 4. * Ibid. x. 5-12 ; Rom. xii. 1, 

lbct. xxxn. ITS IMPORTANCE. 369 

beings in the common acts of life, and of the will and spirit of 
Him who, by one decisive sacrificial act, destroyed the value of 
all Jewish and all heathen sacrifices forever. The 'Priesthood,' 
with its princely magnificence and venerable usages, became, 
as it were, a halo of glory for One who both in life and death 
dealt against it the heaviest blow that any earthly Priesthood 
ever sustained. The original idea of the royal Priesthood of 
the whole nation, of which the Levitical Priesthood had been a 
limited and faint representation, was revived by the Apostles in 
its application to the whole Christian society, and has been, to 
a certain degree, preserved in the 'chrism,' or consecration as 
with the sacred oil of Priesthood, which in the Eastern Church 
indicates at Confirmation the Priestly consecration of every 
member of the Christian family. 1 

Even the last waving of those Priestly vestments, by which 
the office was handed on by the Roman governors to the 
Asmonean family, has left its trace in the language of the new 
dispensation which swept them away from the world. To be 
' clothed ' with the moral graces of the new faith, 2 to ' endue,'* 
that is, to ' enrobe ' the justice which alone is the true priestly 
consecration of every human soul, whether layman or minister, 
is the precept of the Christian Apostle, the prayer of the 
Christian Church. 

Thus it is that the long endurance of the most formal and 
material of all the institutions of Judaism was at once rewarded 
and rebuked, as in a kind of sublime paradox, by being made 
the vehicle of the most eternal and spiritual of all Christian 
truths. No new sense was ever won for old words, at once 
more alien to their outward sound, or more consonant to their 
inward meaning, than that which saw in the decaying Priest- 
hood of the Jewish race the anticipation of the universal con- 
secration of the whole world by Christ and His Apostles. 
There was a secret correspondence of thought which made his 
application possible athwart the vast differences of time, and 
place, and circumstance. The Levitical Priest may have been 

1 See Quelques Mots, par un Chritie* 10 ; i Peter v. 5. 
Orthodoxc, p. 53. ■ English Prayer Book, Prayer in the 

* Romans xiii. 14 ; Colossians iii. 9, Ember weeks. 

II. B B 

370 THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD. xect. xxxvi. 

the least divine of all the Mosaic institutions. The Levitical 
Book of Chronicles may have been the last and least of all the 
Sacred Books. Caiaphas may have been the impersonation of 
all that was narrowest and basest in the Jewish character. But 
the loftier purposes to which the Priesthood at times ministered, 
the occasional strains as of a higher mood that break even 
through the ceremonial narratives of the Chronicles, the in- 
domitable determination, hereditary in the highest characters 
of the tribe of Levi, from Phinehas to Caiaphas, go far to justify 
the sacred homage paid to an institution in itself so local and 
transitory. ' Let Thy light and Thy truth be with Thy holy 
1 one.' — ' He said unto his father and unto his mother, I have 
1 not seen him, neither did he acknowledge his brother, nor 
1 know his own children.' l So the greatest of the tribe of Levi 
described their stern disregard of any human affection — the 
source at once of their strength and of their weakness, of their 
faith and of their fanaticism. So he described the virtue of a reli- 
gious ministry in language which may rise far above its original 
meaning, to denote that high impartiality which mounts beyond 
all earthly and family connexions, in consideration of the greater 
claims of justice, mercy, and truth ; and through the long con- 
tinuance of their power and of their name, the benediction 
upon them, couched in language almost as fierce as their own 
deeds, has received a fulfilment beyond that which has fallen to 
the lot of any other earthly organisation : ' Bless, Lord, his sub- 
1 stance, and accept the work of his hands : smite through the 
1 loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, 
* that they rise not again.' 

1 Deut. xxxiii. 8. Compare Michaelis's Laws o/Moses t Aj*. 5a, 

mct. xxxtiu THE AGE OF UZZIAH. 3; I 




I. ' Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel ' (Amaziah), 2 Chr. xxv. 28 ; ibid. (Ahaz) 
xxviii. 26 ; or ' of Israel and Judah ' (Jotham), xxvii. 7. 

*. Book of the Chronicles (literally ' words of ihe days ') of the Kings of Judah (Ama- 
ziah), 2 Kings xiv. 18 ; ibid. (Azariah) xv. 6 ; iHd. (Jotham) xv. 36 ; ibid. (Ahaz) 
xvi. 19. 

3. 'Acts ' (literally ' words of Uzziah, first and last ') by Isaiah, 2 Chr. xxvi. 22. 

4. Joel ; Amos ; Micah ; Zech. ix.-xi. ; Isaiah i. 6, ii. 2, iv. 6, v. 1-14. 

The century on which we now enter represents a vigorous 
struggle of three able sovereigns, to raise the kingdom from the 
state of depression into which it had fallen since the death of 
Jehoshaphat— a struggle partly successful, but partly frustrated 
by calamities beyond the control of human power. 

The first step was the reconquest of Edom by Amaziah. 

A victory was gained in the neighbourhood of the Dead 

Sea. Petra was taken, and the prisoners thrown down from 

Amaziah. tne cun " s °f tne i r own C ^Y- This enterprise had 

B .c been deemed so important that Amaziah had, in the 
837-808. fj rst mstance) hired Israelite mercenaries to assist 
him ; and when it was accomplished, he was so elated as to 
challenge the King of Israel to fight for his own. ! But the 
proud house of Jehu was not thus to be dealt with. Israel was 
just beginning to recover from its misfortunes. It could still, 
as compared with the little kingdom of Judah, take the attitude 
of the lofty cedar looking down on the humble thistle. A 
decisive defeat at Bethshemesh reduced Amaziah to submission. 
The northern wall of Jerusalem was dismantled by the conqueror, 

1 t Chr. xxv. 6-17:2 Kings xiv. 7, 8. 
B B 2 

372 UZZIAH. lbct. xxxti. 

and, as usual, the sacred treasures carried off 1 For fifteen 
years Amaziah survived the disgrace ; but it rankled in the 
hearts of his people. He was murdered at Lachish, a Philis- 
tine fortress now rising into importance. His body was brought 
on horseback to Jerusalem, and buried in state, and by a formal 
popular election his youthful son Uzziah or Azariah succeeded 
to the throne. 2 

An obscurity rests on Uzziah's reign, the longest except that 

of Manasseh, the most prosperous excepting that of Jehoshaphat, 

Uzziah. since the time of Solomon. In the narrative of the 

b.c. Book of Kings this long period is passed over in al- 
808-757. most a b so i u te silence. It is from the Book of Chroni- 
cles that we derive our impressions of his splendour. His first 
endeavour was to follow up his father's conquest of Edom by 
the re-establishment of the port of Elath, and, consequently, of 
the commerce on the Gulf of Akaba. In the confusion which 
attended the fall of the House of Jehu, large portions of the 
east and south-east of the Jordan also fell under his power. 
The wild Arabian tribes that had shown such an independent 
spirit against Joram were subdued. 3 The Ammonites, who had 
formerly belonged to the Kings of Israel, and had asserted 
their independence, paid tribute to him. 4 Into the southern 
desert, as far as the frontier of Egypt, ' his name spread abroad.' 5 
On the west, the turbulent Philistines were attacked, and three 
of their fortresses razed to the ground. 6 

He consolidated his internal resources in every quarter. 
The weak point of the walls of Jerusalem, which had suffered 
from the late inroad of Israel, he fortified. 7 He prepared, 
seemingly with a skill and a zeal unprecedented in the military 
experience of Judah, projectiles of all sorts against besiegers, 
as well as of the more common weapons for the soldiers of the 
army. The army was reorganised. The ancient body of the 
six hundred heroes of David seem to have been superseded by a 
more numerous body, bearing the same name, but consisting 
of the heads of families. 8 The numbering of the fighting 

1 2 Chr. xxv. 18-24 : 3 Kings xiv. 9 14. * Ibid. 7, 8 ; Isa. xvi. 1. 

* 2 Chr. xxv. 27-xxvi. 1 ; 2 Kings xiv. s 2 Chr. xxvi. 8. * Ibid. xxvi. 6. 

19-21. * Ibid. xxvi. 9. 

s 2 Chr. xxvj. 2-7 (Heb. and LXX.). * Ibid. xxvi. 11-15. 

lbct. xxxvit. THE AGE OF UZZIAH. 373 

population, which in David's reign had been regarded with 
aversion and awe, was now effected without scruple, under the 
chief officers of the Court and camp. 

Nor was he neglectful of the arts of peace. He built 
towers on the frontier of the desert. He dug wells for the 
protection and support of his numerous herds of cattle, both 
in the level country of Philistia and in the downs on the east 
of the Jordan. He had vineyards on the southern Carmel : 
1 for he loved husbandry.' l 

In all these departments, his success seemed to correspond 
to his double name : 'the strength of Jehovah' (Cfzz-iah) and 
1 the help of Jehovah ' (Azar-iah) ; and, accordingly, the 
Chronicler again and again insists on the pre-eminent great- 
ness he had attained. ' God helped him.' ' He strengthened 
' himself exceedingly.' ' He was marvellously helped'' ... 'he 
'was strong.' 2 Nor did his prosperity cease at his death. 
jotham. Slight as are the notices of his son Jotham, they are 

B . c . all of the same kind. He fortified the city and 
757-738. Temple. He too built cities on the Judsean moun- 
tains, and castles and towers in the forests. 3 He also repressed 
every effort of revolt amongst the Ammonites, and of him as of 
his father, thpugh more shortly, it is said 'that he was strong.' 4 
The country swelled with a consciousness of vigour. Its ce- 
dars of Lebanon, its oaks of Bashan, its high mountains and 
hills, covered each with its high tower and fortress, seemed to 
defy God himself. 5 The commerce of Uzziah still loaded 
the ships of Tarshish with articles of costly and beautiful mer- 
chandise. 6 

But in this prosperity there were some dark spots, of which 
the Historical Books report hardly anything, but of which the 
writings of the contemporary Prophets are full, and which led 
the way to the rapid decline of the next period on which we 
shall have to enter. There was the tremendous, ever- 
memorable, visitation of locusts. It came, like all 
such visitations, in the season of unusual drought, a drought 

1 2 Chr. xxvi. 10. ' strength,' however, is chezek, not Uz. 

* Ibid. xxvi. 7, 8, 13, 15. The word ' Ibid, xxvii. 3,4. * Ibid, xxvii. 5,6. 

for 'kelp' is Azar. Th« word used for ' Isa. ii. 13, 14. ■ Ibid. ii. 16. 

374 THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS. user, xxxyii. 

which passed l over the country like flames of fire. The locusts 
came from the 2 north. The brightness of the Eastern sky was 
suddenly darkened as if by thick clouds on the mountain- 
tops. They moved like a gigantic army : ' they all seemed to 
' be impelled by one mind, as if acting under one word of 
1 command ; ' 3 they flew as if on horses and chariots from hill 
to hill ; never breaking their ranks they climbed over the walls 
of cities, into the windows of houses. The purple vine, the 
green fig-tree, the grey olive, the scarlet pomegranate, the 
golden corn, the waving palm, the fragrant citron, 4 vanished 
before them, and the trunks and branches were left bare and 
white by their devouring teeth. What had been but a few 
moments before like the garden of Eden was turned into a 
desolate wilderness. The herds 5 of cattle and flocks of sheep 
so dear to the shepherds of Judah, the husbandmen so dear to 
King Uzziah, were reduced to starvation. The flour and oil 
for the ' meat-offerings ' failed ; 6 even the Temple lost its 
accustomed sacrifices. It was a calamity so great that it 
seemed as though none could be greater. It had ' not been 
' in their days nor in the days of their 7 fathers ; ' ' there had 
* never been the like, neither would there be any more after it, 
i even to the years of many generations.' 

It must have been in the kingdom of Judah what the 
drought of Ahab's reign had been in the kingdom of Israel. It 
was a day of Divine judgment, a day of darkness and of gloomi- 
ness, a day of clouds and thick darkness. 8 The harsh blast of 
the consecrated ram's horn 9 called an assembly for an extra- 
ordinary fast. Not a soul was to be absent. Like 
the fiery cross, it convened old and young, men and 
women, mothers with infants at their breasts, the bridegroom 
and the bride on their bridal day. 10 All were there stretched 

1 Amos iv. 6-9 ; Joel ii. 1-20. It must ' These are the words of an eyewitn«iC 
not have been earlier than the time of (Morier). Comp. Joel ii. 7. 

Joash, not later than the time of Uzziah. * Joel i. 12 (Heb.). 

2 Joel ii. 20. If this reading is correct 
(which Ewald doubts), it constitutes an 
exception to the usual direction of the 
flights of locusts But it is hardly a suffi- 
cient ground for explaining away the 
locusts into an army of Chaldaeans. 

■' Ibid. i. 


1 Ibid. i. 

9, 10. 

' Ibid. i. 

2, 3, ii. 2. 

1 Ibid, i 

. 15, ii. 1, 


• Ibid, ii 

. 8 (Heb.). 

10 Ibid. 

i. 14, ii. 15 


lbct. xxxtti. THE AGE OF UZZIAH. 375 

in front of the altar. The altar l itself presented the dreariest of 
all sights, a hearth without its sacred fire, a table spread without 
its sacred feast. The Priestly caste, instead of gathering as 
usual upon its steps and its platform, were driven, as it were, to 
the further space • they turned their backs to the dead altar, 
and lay prostrate, gazing towards the Invisible Presence within 
the sanctuary. Instead of the hymns and music which, since 
the time of David, had entered into their prayers, there was 
nothing heard but the passionate sobs, and the loud dissonant 
howls such as only an Eastern hierarchy could utter. Instead 
of the mass of white mantles, which they usually presented, 
they were wrapt in black goat's-hair 2 sackcloth, twisted round 
them not with the brilliant sashes of the priestly attire, but with 
a rough girdle of the same texture, which they never unbound 
night or day. 3 What they wore of their common dress was 
rent 4 asunder or cast off. With bare breasts they waved their 5 
black drapery towards the Temple, and shrieked aloud, ' Spare 
1 Thy people, O Lord ! ' 

This visitation of locusts, if it did not of itself suggest any 
darker misfortunes, at any rate fell in with constant apprehen- 
sions of wars and invasions. Visions of the cruelty of the 
Ammonites, 6 fears of the faithlessness of Tyre, 7 hovered along 
the horizon • and, along with these, a glimpse into the unknown 
world of 8 Greece, to which Jewish children were sold as slaves 
by their merciless neighbours j a fate to them so dreadful from 
its uncertainty and distance ; to us so interesting from its first 
combination of the two nations, the Hebrew and the Greek, 
then such entire strangers, but in the course of ages to become 
so intimately united in the same great cause. It was to repress 
these invasions and outrages that the constant preparations of 
war were heard in the arsenals of Uzziah, and it was probably 
the contrast between these necessary defences and the peaceful 

1 Perhaps itself covered with sackcloth. Joel i. 8, 13; and Joseph. B. J. \\. 15, 
Joel i. 13 ; comp. Judith iv. it. § 4. 

2 Joel i. 8, 13. Compare Isa. iii. 24, 5 This, and one or more touches, I have 
1. 3 ; also Judith iv. 14, 15. ventured to add from the similar passage 

1 Joel i. 13 ; 1 Kings xxi. 27. in Judith iv. 11-15. 

4 This is implied in tht frequent expres- * Amos i. 13. 

sion 'girt upon the loins.' Amos viii. 10; ' Ibid. i. 9. * Jo«4 iii. 6. 

376 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. use*, xxxvn. 

claims of his beloved husbandry, that suggested the war-cry : 
1 Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning hooks 
1 into spears ; let the weak say, I am strong. . . . Put in the 
1 sickle, for the harvest is ripe ; ... the press is full, the vats 
5 overflow.' ! 

There was yet another calamity which left a deep impres- 
sion on the contemporary writers and on later tradition — ' The 
* Earthquake,' as it was emphatically called. 2 The whole 
Prophetic imagery of the time is coloured by the anticipations 
or recollections of this memorable event. Mountains and 
The Earth- valleys are cleft asunder, and melt as in a 3 furnace ; 
quake. fae earth heaving like the rising waters of the Nile ; 
the sea bursting over the land ; the ground shaking and sliding, 
as, with a succession of shocks, its solid framework reels to and 
fro like a drunkard. The day is overclouded by thick darkness, 
without a glimmering of light. There is the roar as of a lion 
from the caverns of Jerusalem. There is an overthrow like that 
which overthrew the cities of the plain. 4 

It is strange that of this great convulsion the sole trace dis- 
coverable in the Historical 5 Books is to be found in a com- 
bination of incidents preserved only in the later narratives of 
Josephus 6 and of the Chronicles, 7 but which, if they can be 
trusted, serve to fix its general date and its special results at 

It was on some high national solemnity that Uzziah — elated, 
according to the Chronicler, by his successes, but certainly 
in conformity with the precedents of David and Solomon — 
entered the Temple, clothed, according to Josephus, in priestly 
attire, with the intention of offering incense on the golden altar 
within the sacred building. Whether it was that, in the changes 
that had elapsed since the reign of Solomon, the custom had 
dropped, or whether Uzziah entered upon it in a haughty and 
irritating spirit, or whether the priestly order, since their acces- 

1 Joel ili. 9-13. of the King, and omits not only the 

1 Amos i. 1. account of his exclusion from the Temple, 

* Micah i. 4. but the subsequent allusions in 2 Chr. 

* Amos i. 2, iii. 8, ix. 5 ; Zech. xiv. xxvi. at, xxvii. 2. 

$, 6. • Ant. ix. 10, § 4. 

2 Kings xv. 5 gives only the ltprosy 7 2 Chr. xxvi. 16-21. 

l£ct. xxxvii. THE GROWTH OF THE PRIESTHOOD. 3/; 

sion to power through the influence of Jehoiada, claimed more 
than their predecessors had claimed in former times, it is said 
that the High Priest Azariah, 1 with eighty colleagues, positively 
forbade the King's entrance, on the ground that this was a 
privilege peculiar to the priestly office. At this moment, 
according to Joscphus, the shock of the earthquake broke upon 
the city. Its more distant effects were visible long afterwards. 
A huge mass of the mountain on the south-east of Jerusalem 
rolled down to the spring of Enrogel, and blocked up the 
approaches of the valley of the Kedron and the royal gardens. 
Its immediate effect, if rightly reported, was still more striking. 
As has happened in like calamities, even in Jerusalem itself, the 
solid building of the Temple rocked, its roof 2 opened, the 
darkness of its inner recess v> r as suddenly lighted up by the full 
blaze of the sun ; and as the King looked up towards it, a 
leprous disfigurement mounted into his face, and rendered 
necessary that exclusion which, on the ground of his royal 
descent, had been doubtful. He retired at once from the 
Temple — never again to enter it — and for the remainder of his 
life, as one of the accursed race, remained secluded within the 
public infirmary. His grave was apart from the royal vaults, in 
the adjacent field. 3 

This incident, however interpreted, Is the culminating point 
of the collision, more or less plainly indicated, between the 
King and the nobles on the one side and the Priest- 
of the™ 1 hood on the other, and coincides with the increase of 
nesthood. p 0wer w hj c h i as we have seen, had been accruing 
since the reign of Joash, and which is confirmed by the con- 
temporary descriptions of the grandeur of the Temple cere- 
monial. Numbers of victims, fed up for the purpose of sacri- 
fice, were constantly brought to the Temple, — rams, bullocks, 
lambs, goats. New moons and sabbaths, and solemn assemblies, 
were faithfully observed. 4 On occasion of national visitations, 
the Temple was filled, as we have seen, with worshippers j the 

1 The name of Axariah the Priest is 2 See Sinai and Palestine, chapb, ui. 

.ound nowhere else than in 2 Chr. xxvi. 184. 

17, ao, amongst the High Priests of this s 2 Chr. xxvi. 21, 23 (Hcb.). 

tunc. See 1 Chr. vi. 11. * Iaa. i. 13, 14. 

378 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. iacr. xxxvn. 

Priest, for the first time in the history, occupying the most 
prominent place in the worship. 1 

It is probable that this was part of the great and beneficial 
reaction which must have taken place under Joash and Jehoiada 
against the licentious and half-pagan worship, which, with the 
exception of the two reigns of Asa and Jehoshaphat, had pre- 
vailed in the kingdom of Judah. It was like the still more 
rigid revival of the ceremonial and hierarchical system, after 
the return from the Captivity, when the idolatrous tendency of 
the Jewish nation was finally uprooted. But as, in that latter 
instance, it ended in producing an artificial and fanatical spirit, 
against which Christianity itself in its first rise was a protest at 
once most awful and most merciful ; so, in this earlier instance, 
these mechanical observances 2 had a constant tendency to 
foster that divorce between Religion and Morality, which in all 
times has been the bane of the religious world, especially in the 
East. 3 The antidote was provided in the signal development 
of the Prophetical office, which marks the age of Uzziah. 

But it was not only as the appointed antagonists to the ex- 
aggerations of the sacerdotal system that the Prophets arose 
The nobles- with sucn power at this period. The nobles of Judah 
their vices. fi rst distinctly appear as an important body in the 
reign of Joash, and it would seem that their luxury and inso- 
lence, though less gross than that which we have seen in the 
corresponding class in Samaria, was yet in a high degree op- 
pressive and scandalous. Bribery was practised in the seats 4 
of judgment, enormous landed property 5 was accumulated, 
against the whole spirit of the Israelite commonwealth. With 
the determination, and, we may add, the avarice, of their race, 
they laid their deep schemes at night, and carried them out 
with their first waking ; 6 they ' did evil with both hands ; ' 7 
they skinned the poor to the very quick, they picked their 
bones and ground them to powder. The great ladies of Zion 

1 Joel i. 9, 13, ii. 17. striking passage in Mills's Samaritans, 

2 It may be that an increase of immo- 171. 

rality is intended in 2 Chr. xxvii. 2. But * Isa. i. 23, x. 1 ; Micah vii. 3. 

probably it is only the equivalent of the s Isa. v. 8. 

corresponding phrase in 2 Kings xv. 35. * Micah ii. 1, vii. 3. 

' For this Oriental tendency, see a 7 Ibid. iii. 2, 3 ; Isa. ii. 14, ij. 

lbct. xxxvu. THE PROPHETS. 379 

were haughty and paced along the streets, tossing their necks, 
and leering with their eyes, walking and mincing as they went ; 
covered with tinkling ornaments, chains, bracelets, mantles, 
veils, of all fashions and sizes. 1 

In Judah, as in Ephrairr., drunkenness was amongst the 
higher orders a national vice. They turned their gigantic 
energy into their 2 debauches. The music and poetry which 
David had founded were the accompaniments of those long 
revels, which lasted from 3 break of day till night. When the 
vineyards were laid waste by the locusts, the selfish tears and 
cries of the drunkard were amongst the 4 first that struck the 
listener's ear. 

In the face of these moral and social evils, combined with 
the physical calamities of the period, a more than ordinary 
The consolation was required. That consolation was in 

Prophets. SO me degree provided by the wise and upright Kings, 
especially Uzziah himself. But it was the peculiar characteristic 
of the Jewish people, that the hope derived from these earthly 
examples suggested a higher still. It was the glory of the 
reigns of David and Solomon to have rendered possible the 
first conception of a future Ruler, an anointed King, of their 
descendants, more beneficent and more splendid than either. 
It was the glory of the reign of Uzziah that then (as far as we 
know) this idea was first brought forward again in still firmer 
and larger proportions, though in less warlike and imperial 
strains ; and from this time onwards the belief in the coming 
of the Just, Peaceful, Merciful King gained a stronger and 
stronger hold. 

The earliest of the Prophets whose writings have come 
down to us, and who now, in the decline of the kingdom of 
Samaria, were gathered more closely round the throne of 
Judah, is Joel. He is the connecting link between the older 
Prophets who are known to us only through their actions and 
sayings, and the later who are known chiefly through their 
writings. His mode of address, in its abruptness and direct- 
ness, is such as we can imagine in Elijah himself. On the 

1 Isa. iii. 16-26. ■ Ibid. v. 11,12, 21. 

1 Ibid. v. 22. * Joel i. 5. 

380 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. lbct. xxxtn. 

occasion of the visitation of locusts before described, it was he 
who came forward to counsel, or at least to rouse the assembly 
— to call the people to the outward expression of repentance. 
He is full too of the ancient spirit of war and vengeance. But 
the new and more spiritual element is already at work. Totally 
unlike as that scene is, in all its external features, to any 
modern worship, the prophetic voice of Joel infuses into it a 
higher strain, that has lasted to our own time. The bare, half- 
clothed forms, with the clothes hanging round them in strips 
and tatters, are of the East and Eastern. But, ' Rend your 
' heart, and not your l garments, 7 is the true keynote of spiritual 
worship, fitly prefixed to the public prayers of the most 
Western churches, as the warning that even the most passionate 
expressions of external devotion are nothing unless the intention 
of the heart goes with them. With a glance that reached 
forwards to the most distant ages, yet had immediate reference 
to the enlargement of the narrow views of his own time, he 
foretold, as the chiefest of blessings, that the day was at hand 
when the Prophetic spirit should no longer be confined to this 
or that class, but should be poured out upon all humanity, on 
male and female, on old and young, even on the slaves and 
humblest inhabitants of Jerusalem. 2 

These words, receiving their fullest accomplishment cen- 
turies afterwards, were yet realised almost within that generation 
by the simultaneous rise of Prophets of all degrees of culti- 
vation, and from every station of life. The few who are known 
to us are doubtless the representatives of many more, and are 
enough to indicate the force and variety of the revival which 
was at work. Some of them were wild enthusiasts, 3 in whom 
it was difficult to distinguish between the fumes of intoxication 
and the fervour of inspiration ; some played into the hands of 
the unprincipled Priesthood, whom they were meant to counter- 
act, and affected the black Prophetic dress without any portion 
of the Prophetic spirit. 4 

Others there were who lifted up the 'burdens' of true 

' Joel ii. 13. * Isa. xxix. 9, 10 ; Micah iii. 5-7, 11 

" Ibid. ii. 28, 29 ; Acts ii. 17. Jer. v. 31. 

1 Micah ii. zi. 

lbct. xxxvn. THE PROPHETS. 38 1 

Prophetic oracles against the vices of the time. 1 Amongst 
these was one who, by his humble origin, almost 
literally fulfilled the words of Joel's description. 
Amos, the sheepmaster of Tekoa, the gatherer of figs, the 
Prophet of simple style and rustic imagery, appeared in the 
close of Uzziah's reign. He kept his sheep and goats on the 
wild hills of Judaea, as Nabal on a grander scale, and David on 
a humbler scale, had kept them before. His writings are 
filled with allusions to the deep clefts, the foaming winter 
torrents that descend to the Dead Sea, to the wild animals, 
especially to the lions, of this savage district. Although his 
ministrations were chiefly, as we have seen, in the kingdom of 
Israel, 2 yet his strong denunciations of the sacrificial and 
ceremonial system, as compared with the mild rebuke of Joel, 
show the growing need and also the growing spirit of the 
Prophetic order in this its most important function. 

Another Prophet, whose character and position are more 
difficult to unravel, was Zechariah, the favourite Prophet of 
King Uzziah in his prosperous days. ' He sought 
' God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding 
1 in the visions of the Lord.' 3 It cannot be proved, but it is 
very probable, that this was the Prophet whose writings are 
now in part comprised under the name of the later Zechariah. 
Like Amos, he directed his teaching so much towards the 
northern kingdom that he can hardly be considered in this 
place. But he is clearly a seer, dwelling at Jerusalem, and in 
his mind first rises distinctly the image of the Pacific King, 
not on the war-horse, like Asa or Jehoshaphat, in their martial 
moods, but on the gentle ass, like Uzziah in his earlier and 
brighter days, just and lowly, speaking peace to the heathen. 4 

A fourth Prophet who, like Amos, but in a higher position, 

came from the rural district of Judah, is Micah the Morasthite. 

He began to prophesy after the accession of Jotham. 

His 5 name, even his opening address, was the same, 

word for word, and letter for letter, as of that older Micaiah, 

1 2 Chr. xxiv. 19, 27 (Heb.). ' Mica-jahu, 'who is like Jehovah?' 

3 See Lecture XXVIII Compare Mieah i. 2 ; 1 Kings xxii. at 

1 2 Chr. xxvi. 5. (Dr. Puseys Preface to Micah\ 
* Z«ch. ix. 9. See Lecture XXXIV. 

382 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. lect. xxxvii. 

who could prophesy nothing but evil against the Kings of 
Israel, and who appealed round and round to every single 
citizen of the commonwealth. He was filled with the evils of 
his time inward and outward. Like the older l Prophets, like 
the anchorites of Russia, he stripped off his clothes, and went 
about naked, beating his breast, with wild shrieks and lamen- 
tations, like the long piteous cry of the jackal, like the fearful 
screech 2 of the ostrich. His own immediate neighbourhood, 
in the maritime plain, is the first scene of his warnings. 3 
Village 4 after village he dooms to destruction. Their familiar 
names appear to carry with them their death-warrant. His 
eye and ear are haunted by the images of earthquakes and even 
of volcanoes. He is struck with horror at the drunkenness, 5 
the robbery, the folly, the oppression of his country. Not only 
from nobles and priests, but from his own Prophetic 6 order, 
he turns away in disgust. One 7 remarkable instance of such 
an explosion we shall meet in the reign of Hezekiah. Wild as 
he is in appearance, and terrible in his denunciations, there 
are in him, beyond any of the Lesser Prophets of this time, 
1 soul-stirring recollections, And hopes their bright reflections.' 
On him, first of the Prophets, the events of the past history 
crowd in vivid succession, even as we ourselves see them in 
the present Sacred books, — Abraham and Jacob, 8 the wonders 9 
of the Exodus, the interview 10 of Balaam and Balak, the 
delightful stay of the pastoral tribes l ! in the forests beyond the 
Jordan on the eve of the conquest. To him more distinctly 
than to any previous Prophet, comes the assurance that, in 
spite of all her calamities and her crimes, Jerusalem shall 
become the capital of a vast spiritual and intellectual empire, 12 
and that a mighty Conqueror shall shatter in pieces all the 
obstacles 13 that close up the free energies of his people ; that u 

1 i Sam. xix. 24. See Lectures on 8 Micah vii. 20. 
Eastern Church, p. 378. " Ibid. vi. 4, vii. 15. 

2 Micah i. 8 (Dr. Pusey, Pre/.). lo Ibid. vi. 4, 5. 

3 Ibid. i. 10-15. " Ibid. ii. 12, vii. 14. 

• Ibid. i. 13-16 (see Dr. Pusey 's Pre/., 12 Ibid. iv. 1-4. 

p. 293). ,3 Ibid. ii. 13 (?). See EwaJd, Pro* 

R Ibid. ii. 1, 8, n. iii. 1. pheten, p. 333. 

• Ibid. iii. 5-8. u Ibid. v. 1-4. 

• Se« Lecture XXXVIII. 

lbct. xxx vn. ISMAIL 383 

a Ruler shall come, even in his own time, who shall set all 
things right, and who, though having a past in the most 
ancient days, shall be born in the Prophet's own immediate 
neighbourhood, the small insignificant village of Bethlehem. 
He gives to the warlike cry of Joel a turn which henceforth 
becomes its authorised rendering ; when, instead of a reign of 
war, he anticipates universal peace: 'They shall beat their 
' swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning 
'hooks.' 1 'There will be a Shepherd more royal even than 

* David ; 2 a peace even more universal than that of Solo- 

* mon.' 3 

He trusts with unshaken faith in the gracious future which 
God has in store for his nation and for himself. ' Who is a 

* God like 4 Thee, pardoning iniquities, and passing by trans- 
1 gressions for the remnant of His heritage. He retaineth not 

* His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will 

* again have compassion upon us. He will subdue our 

* iniquities j yea, Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of 
1 the sea.' And his last words are those which, centuries 
afterwards, were caught up by the aged priest whose song 
unites the Old and 5 New Testaments together. ' Thou wilt 
' perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which 
' Thou hast sworn ; ' to send forth a second David, the mighty 
Child, whose unknown mother is already travailing for his 

Exactly contemporary with Micah — it is hard to say whether 
older or younger 6 — is a still greater Prophet, who stands out 
at once as the representative of his own age, and yet 
as a universal teacher of mankind. Whilst the other 
Prophets of this period are known only to the bypaths of 
theology, in the quaint texts of remote preachers, Isaiah is a 
household word everywhere. This is the first point in the 
history of the kingdom of Judah, where, as in common eccle- 
siastical history, we are able to measure the periods by the 

1 Micah iv. 3 ; comp. Joel iii. 10. See Dr. Pusey, Pre/, p. 288 
1 Ibid. ii. 12, iv. 6, 8, v. 4, 5, vii. 4. * Micah vii. 18-20 ; Luke i. 72, 73. 

1 Ibid. iv. 3. * Ewald makes him to be younger. Dr. 

4 Ibid. vii. 18. Possibly in allusion Pusey to be older, 
to kit name Micaiah, ' who is as Jehovah ? ' 

384 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. user, xxxvu. 

names rather of distinguished teachers than of Kings or Chief 
Priests. In the earlier stages of the history of Judah there 
was no Prophet of magnitude equal to Jehoshaphat, or 
Jehoiada, or Uzziah. But in the period on which we now 
enter there is no King or Priest of magnitude equal to Isaiah, 
and he was succeeded by two others, only, if at all, inferior to 
himself, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. For the first time since Elisha 
we have a Prophet of whose life and aspect we can be said to 
have any details. He was statesman as well as Prophet. He 
lived not in the remote villages of Judah like Micah, or wan- 
dering over hill and dale like Elijah and Amos, but in the 
centre of all political life and activity. His whole thoughts 
take the colour of Jerusalem. He is the first Prophet specially 
attached to the capital l and the Court. He was, according to 
Jewish 2 tradition, the cousin of Uzziah, his father Amos being 
held to be a younger son of Joash. He wrote Uzziah's 3 life ; 
and his first Prophecies, beginning in the close of that reign, 
illustrate the reign of Jotham, as well as of the three succeed- 
ing sovereigns. His individual and domestic life was a kind 
of impersonation of the Prophetic office. His wife was a 4 
Prophetess. According to a practice which seems to have 
prevailed throughout his career as through that of his contem- 
porary Hosea, he himself and his children all bear Prophetic 
names : ' Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given 
1 me are for a sign and a wonder in Israel from the Lord of 
' hosts.' 5 He had a circle of 6 disciples, probably of Prophets, 
in whom his spirit was long continued. One such, unknown 
except through his writings, 7 in all probability has, if so be, 
under the shadow of his name, exercised a still wider influence 
than Isaiah himself. Legends, apocryphal books, have 
gathered round him as round another Solomon or another 
Elijah. Of no other book of the Old Testament, except the 
Psalter, have the subsequent effects in the world been so 
marked, or the principles so fruitful of results for the future. 
In fact, his appearance was a new step in the Prophetic dis- 

1 Ewald, Prophetcn, p. 168. 4 Isa. viii. 3. ■ Ibid. viii. 18. 

' See the quotations in Gesenius, ' Ibid. viii. 16. 

Jtaaia, Einl. § 1. • Ibid, xl.-lxvi. See Lecture XL. 

3 2 Chr. xxvi. aa. 

i : r. xxxvu. ISAIAH. 385 

pensation. The length of his life, the grandeur of his social 
position, gave a force to what he said, beyond what was possible 
in the fleeting addresses of the humbler Prophets, who had 
preceded him. There is a royal air in his attitude, in his 
movements, in the sweep of his vision, which commands atten- 
tion. He was at once 'great and faithful' in his vision. 1 
Nothing escapes him in the events of his time. The other 
Prophetic writings are worked up by him into his own words. 
He does not break with the past. He is not ashamed of 
building on the foundation of those who have gone before him. 
All that there is of general instruction in Joel, Micah, or Amos, 
is reproduced in Isaiah. But his style has its own marked 
peculiarity and novelty. The fierce impassioned addresses of 
Joel and Nahum, the abrupt strokes, the contorted turns of 
Hosea and Amos, give way to something more of a continuous 
flow, where stanza succeeds to stanza, and canto to canto, with 
almost a natural sequence. Full of imagery as is his poetry, it 
still has a simplicity which was at that time so rare as to 
provoke the satire of the more popular Prophets. They, push- 
ing to excess the nervous rhetoric of their predecessors, could 
not bear, as they expressed it, to be treated like children. 
' Whom shall he teach knowledge, and whom shall he make 
1 to understand doctrine ? Them that are weaned from the 
1 milk, and drawn from the breasts ! ' Those constant recur- 
rences of the general truths of spiritual religion, majestic in 
their plainness, seemed to them mere commonplace repetitions ; 
— ' precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon 
' line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,' or as appears 
still more strongly in the 2 original, • tsav la-tsav — tsav la-tsav 
1 — kav la-kav—kav la-kav — zeir sham, zeir skam.' It is the 
universal complaint of the shallow inflated rhetoricians of the 
professedly religious world against original genius and apostolic 
simplicity, the complaint of the babblers of Ephesus against 
S. John, the protest of all scholastic and pedantic systems 
against the freeness and the breadth of a Greater than John or 
Isaiah. Such divine utterances have always appeared defective, 

1 Ecclus. xlviii. 22. * Isa. xxviii. 9-13 (Ewald). 

II. cc 

386 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. lect. xxxvii. 

and unimpassioned, and indefinite, in the ears of those who 
crave for wilder excitement and more elaborate systems, but 
have no less found, for that very reason, a sure response in 
the child-like, genuine, natural soul of every age. 

The special objects of Isaiah's mission will appear as we 
pass through his history. But the general objects are best in- 
dicated in the ! account which he himself has left us of his 
call, or (as we should now describe it) his conversion, to the 
Prophetical office. 

1 In the year that King Uzziah died,' in the last year of that 
long reign of fifty-two years, as the life of the aged King, now 
m „ , on the verge of seventy, was drawing to its close in 

The call of ° r , i r ■, i T • i 

Isaiah. the retirement of the house of lepers, the young Isaiah 
b.c. 757- W as, or in vision seemed to be, in the court of the 
Temple. He stood at the gate of the porch, and gazed straight 
into the Holy Place, and into the Holy of Holies itself. All 
the intervening obstacles were removed. The great gates of 
cedar-wood were thrown open, the many-coloured veil that 
hung before the innermost sanctuary was drawn aside, and 
deep within was a throne of a King, high and lifted up, tower- 
ing as if into the sky. What was the form that sat thereon, 
here, as elsewhere, the Scripture forbears to describe. Only 
by outward and inferior images, as to us by secondary causes, 
could the Divine Essence be expressed. The long drapery 
of His train filled the Temple, as ' His glory fills the earth.' 
Around the throne, as the cherubs on each side of the mercy- 
seat, as the guards round the King, with head and feet veiled, 
figures floated like flying serpents, 2 themselves glowing with 
the glory of which they were a part, whilst vast wings enfolded 
their faces and their feet, and supported them in mid-air around 
the throne. From side to side 3 went up a hymn of praise, which 
has since been incorporated in the worship of Christendom, and 
which expressed that He was there who bore the great Name 
specially appropriated to the period of the Jewish monarchy and 

1 Isa. vi. (Num. xxi. 6 ; Deut. viii. is\ and is used 

a Saraph. Compare the Brazen Ser- nowhere else, 
pent used at this time (2 Kings xviii. 4). 3 Neither beginning till the other gave 

The word saraph is used in Isaiah, and permission, as in the synagogues (Rashi, 

for the fiery serpents in the wilderness in Gesenius, Jesaia, p. 121). 

lect. xxxvn. THE CALL OF ISAIAH. 387 

to the Prophetical ' order — 'the Lord of Hosts.' The sound 
of their voices rang like thunder to the extremity of the Temple. 
The pillars of the gateway 2 trembled, as if in another earth- 
quake-shock, and the whole building within grew dark as with 
the smoke of a great sacrifice. It was a sight and sound 
which the youthful Isaiah recognised at once as the intimation 
of Divinity. It was the revelation of the Divine Presence to 
him, as that of the Burning Bush to Moses, or of the Still Small 
Voice to Elijah — the inevitable prelude to a Prophetic mission, 
couched in the form most congenial to his own character and 
situation. To him, the Royal Prophet of Jerusalem, this mani- 
festation of Royal splendour was the almost necessary vesture 
in which the Spiritual Truth was to be clothed. All his own 
sins— we know not what they were — and the sins of his nation 
— as we know them from himself and the contemporary Prophets 
— passed before him, and he said, ' Woe is me, for I am lost, 
1 because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a 
1 people of unclean lips ; for mine eyes have seen the King, 
1 the Lord of Hosts.' A Rabbinical tradition, probably baseless, 
took possession very early of the Christian Church, that his sin 
had been an acquiescence in the sin of Uzziah, and that the 
gift of prophecy then removed from him was now to be restored. 3 
But his own words rather lead to the impression that it was his 
language, and the language of his countrymen, that was to blame : 
1 a foul-mouthed son of a foul-mouthed race.' On these defiled 
lips, therefore, the purifying touch was laid. From the flaming 
altar, the flaming seraph brought a flaming coal. This was the 
creation, so to speak, of that marvellous style which has en- 
tranced the world ; the burning 4 furnace which warms, as with 
a central fire, every variety of his addresses. Then came the 
Voice from the sanctuary, saying, ' Whom shall I send, who 
1 will go for Us ? ' With unhesitating devotion, the youth 

1 The word is used 13 times in the Gesenius, p. 121). 

Books of Samuel, 62 times in Isaiah, 65 3 See Gesenius on Isa. vi., pp. 5, 6, 7, 

times in Jeremiah, but only 3 tinier in the 120. 254, 261. 

Chronicles (Mr. Twisleton on the Books of * 'Si quis penitus posset introspicere 

Samuel, Diet, of the Bible). See Lecture 'afflatus Prophetae, videret in singulis 

XXIII. 'verbis caminos ignis et vehementissimos 

' It is supposed to be the Divine judg- ' ardores esse.' (Luther, Opp. iii. p. 286.) 
me»t and earthquake of Uzziah (Rashi, in 

C C 2 



replied, ' Here I am ; send me.' In the words that follow is 
represented the whole of the Prophet's career. First, he is 
forewarned of the forlorn hopelessness of his mission. The 
louder and more earnest is his cry, the less will they hear and 
understand— the more clearly he sets the vision of truth before 
them, the less will they see. ' Make the heart of this people 
1 gross, and make their eyes heavy, and shut their eyes, lest 
1 they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and under- 
' stand with their heart, and be converted and healed.' l These 
mournful words, well known to us through their 2 five-fold repe- 
tition in the New Testament as the description of the Jewish 
people in its latest stage of decay, were doubtless true in the 
highest degree of that wayward generation to which Isaiah was 
called to speak. His spirit sank within him, and he asked, 
'O Lord, how long — Usquequo, Domine?' The reply un- 
folded at once the darker and the brighter side of the future. 
Not till successive invasions had wasted the cities, not till the 
houses had been left without a human being within them, not 
till the land had been desolate with desolation, would a better 
hope dawn ; not till the invasions of Pekah and Sennacherib 
had done their work, not till ten out of the twelve tribes had 
been removed far away, and there should have been a great 
forsaking in the midst of the land, would he be relieved from 
the necessity of delivering his stern, but fruitless, warnings, 
against the idolatry, the dulness, the injustice of his people. 
But widely spread and deeply seated as was the national cor- 
ruption, there was still a sound portion left, which would live on 
and flourish. As the aged oak or terebinth of Palestine may 
be shattered and cut down to the very roots, and yet out of the 
withered stump a new shoot may spring forth, and grow into a 
mighty and vigorous tree, so is the holy seed, the faithful few 
of the chosen people. 3 This is the true consolation of all 
Ecclesiastical History. It is a thought which is but little re- 
cognised in its earlier and ruder stages, when the inward and 
outer are easily confounded together. But it is the very 
message of life to a more refined and complex age, and it was 

1 Isa. vi. io. viii. io ; John xii. 39 ; Acts xxviii. 25. 

* Matt. xiii. 13 ; Mark iv. 12 ; Luke a See Isa. vi. 13. 

I m i. xxxvn. THE MISSION OF ISAIAH. 389 

the Key-note to the whole of Isaiah's prophecies. It had, 
indeed, been dimly indicated to Elijah, in the promise of the 
few who had not bowed the knee to Baal, and in the still small 
whisper which was greater than thunder, earthquake, and fire. 
But in Isaiah's time it first, if we may say so, became a living 
doctrine of the Jewish Church, and through him an inheritance 
of the Christian Church. ' A remnant— the l remnant' This 
was his watchword, 'The remnant shall return (s hear- j as hub). 1 
This was the truth constantly personified before him in the 
name of his eldest son. A remnant of good in the mass of 
corruption, a remnant saved from the destructive invasions of 
Assyria, a burst of spring-time in the reformation of Hezekiah ; 
and, far away in the distant future, a rod out of the stem, the 
worn-out stem of Jesse — a branch, a genuine branch, out of 
the withered root of David ; ' and the wilderness and the 
1 solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice, and 
' blossom as the rose ; it shall blossom abundantly, even with 
' joy and singing, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.' 2 

Such was the hope and trust which sustained the Prophet 
through his sixty years of toil and conflict. In the weakness of 
The mission Ahaz, in the calamities of Hezekiah, under the tyranny 
of isaiah. f Manasseh, Isaiah remained firm and stedfast to 
the end. Wider and wider his views opened, as the nearer 
prospects of his country grew darker and darker. First of the 
Prophets, he and those who followed him seized with un- 
reserved confidence the mighty thought, that not in the chosen 
people, so much as in the nations outside of it, was to be found 
the ultimate well-being of a man, the surest favour of God. 
Truly might the Apostle say that Isaiah was ' very bold '— 
' bold 3 beyond ' all that had gone before him — in enlarging the 
boundaries of the Church ; bold with that boldness, and large 
with that largeness of view, which so far from weakening the 
hold on things divine, strengthens it to a degree unknown in 
less comprehensive minds. For to him also, with a distinction 
which makes all other anticipations look pale in comparison, 

1 Isa. x 20, xi. 11, 16, xxviii. 5. Dr. * Isa. xi. 1, xxxv. 1. 

Newman's Sermons, On Subjects of the ' Rom. x. 20, aTroroA/ma. 

Day, 218. Ewald, Prcpheten, 169. 

3Q0 THE AGE OF UZZIAH. tkct. xxxvn. 

a l distinctness which grew with his advancing years, was re- 
vealed the coming of a Son of David, who should restore the 
royal house of Judah and gather the nations under its sceptre. 
If some of these predictions belong to that phase of the Israelite 
hope of an earthly empire, which was doomed to disappoint- 
ment and reversal, yet the larger part point to a glory which 
has been more than realised. Lineament after lineament of 
that Divine Ruler was gradually drawn by Isaiah or his scholars, 
until at last a Figure stands forth, so marvellously combined of 
power and gentleness and suffering, as to present in the united 
proportions of his descriptions the moral features of an historical 
Person, such as has been, by universal confession, known once, 
and once only, in the subsequent annals of the world. 

The task laid upon the Prophet was difficult, the times were 
dark. But his reward has been that, in spite of the opposition, 
the contempt, and the ridicule of his contemporaries, he has in 
after ages been regarded as the messenger not of sad but of 
glad tidings, the Evangelical Prophet, the Prophet of the Gospel, 
in accordance with the meaning of his own name, which he 
himself regarded as charged with Prophetic significance 2 — 
' the Divine Salvation.' 

No other Prophet is so frequently cited in the New Testa- 
ment, for none other so nearly comes up to the Spirit of Christ 
and the Apostles. No other single teacher of the Jewish Church 
has so worked his way into the heart of Christendom. When 
Augustine asked Ambrose which of the Sacred books was best 
to be studied after his conversion, the answer was ' Isaiah.' The 
greatest musical composition of modern times, embodying more 
than any single confession of faith the sentiments of the whole 
Christian Church, is based in far the larger part on the Pro- 
phecies of Isaiah. The wild tribes of New Zealand seized his 
magnificent strains as if belonging to their own national songs, 
and chanted them from hill to hill, with all the delight of a 
newly-discovered treasure. 3 And as in his age, so in our own, 
he must be pre-eminently regarded as ' the bard rapt into future 4 

1 Ewald, Propheten, 169, 170. Grey, the Governor of New Zealand. 

* Isa. viii. 18. See Gesenius, i. p. 3. 4 Pope's Messiah. 

* So I have been informed by Sir G. 

leot. xxxvn. THE MISSION OF ISAIAJi. 39 1 

1 times.' None other of ancient days so fully shared with the 
modern philosopher, or reformer, or pastor, the sorrowful yet 
exalted privilege of standing, as we say, ' in advance of his age,' 
1 before his time.' Through his prophetic gaze we may look 
forward across a dark and stormy present to the onward destiny 
of our race, which must also be the hope of each aspiring soul — 
1 when the eyes of them that see shall not be dim — when the 
1 ears of them that hear shall hearken— when the vile person 
1 shall no more be called liberal, nor the churl said to be bounti- 
' ful — when the liberal shall devise liberal things, and by liberal 
1 things shall he stand — when Ephraim shall not envy Judah, 
1 and Judah shall not vex Ephraim — when thine eyes shall be- 
1 hold the King in his beauty, and see the land that is very 
< far off.' ! 

Lsa. rani, 3, 5, 8, xi. 13, xxxiii. 17. 

392 HEZEKIAH. user, xxxvni. 



With the death of Jotham, a change passed over the face of 
the Jewish monarchy. The hollow religion which had called 
forth the warnings of Isaiah, during the latest years of Uzziah 
and during the reign of Jotham, was unable to hold its ground 
against the heathen worship, with which the vices of the Jewish 
aristocracy naturally allied themselves. The increasing power and 
Ahaz. neighbourhood of Assyria brought new divinities and 
b.c. new forms of worship into view. Of this superstition, 
741—72 . t j ie ]£} n g himself was the centre. He seems to have had 
a mania for foreign religious practices. Not only did he employ 
to the utmost all the existing sanctuaries, 1 but he introduced 
new ones in every direction. The worship of Molech, the 
savage God of Ammon, was now established not only on the 
heights of Olivet, but in the valley of Hinnom, 2 in a spot 
known by the name of Tophet, 3 close under the walls of Jeru- 
salem. There the brazen statue of the god was erected, with 
the furnace 4 within or at his feet, into which the children were 
thrown. To this dreadful form of human sacrifice Ahaz gatfe 
the highest sanction by the devotion of one or more of his 
sons. 5 To this extreme conclusion had the sacrificial system 
of the previous reigns been carried, and it was this which in all 
probability provoked from Micah the Prophetic protest in a 
form which, though couched in language drawn from the 

1 2 Chr. xxviii. 4 ; 2 Kings xvi. 3. comp. Diod. Sic. xx. 14 {Diet, of Bible, 

2 2 Kings xvi. 3. Molech). 

' Isa. xxx. 33 (Heb.). 5 2 Kings xvi. 3 ; 2 Chr. xxviii. 3. 

* Kimchi on 2 Kings xxiii. 10 ; and 

LBCT. xxxvm. AHAZ. 393 

ancient history of the people (perhaps from that of an alien and 
heathen nation), almost anticipates the Christian system. Not 
the thousand rams at the altar, nor the torrents of sacred oil, 
not even the sacrifice of the firstborn son, could so propitiate 
the Divine favour as justice, mercy, and faith. 1 As Tetzel 
called forth Luther, so it may also be said that to the extreme 
superstition of Ahaz we are indebted for one of the most sub- 
lime and impassioned declarations of spiritual religion that the 
Old Testament contains. 

More innocent customs or superstitions appeared in every 
part of the country and city. Golden and silver statues glit- 
tered throughout Judaea. Soothsayers came from the far East; 
wizards, familiar spirits, ghosts, were consulted, even by the 
most outwardly religious. 2 Altars were planted in the corners 
of the streets. In the palace was raised a flight of steps, on 
which the sun's shadow fell : in all probability suggested by 
some Babylonian traveller. 3 To the Temple itself the same 
Oriental influences penetrated, and even materially affected the 
structure and appearance of the building. On its roof were 
erected little altars, apparently for the worship of the heavenly 
bodies of the Zodiac. 4 At the entrance of its court were kept 
chariots dedicated to the sun, with their sacred white horses, as 
in Persia or Assyria, ready to be harnessed on great occasions. 5 
The King's chief work, and that apparently on which he most 
prided himself, was the new altar, framed after the model of 
one which he had seen at Damascus. 6 The High Priest Uri- 
jah, the friend of Isaiah, lent himself to this innovation. The 
venerable altar of David, which had always been somewhat out 
of keeping with the magnificence of the Temple, was now dis- 
placed, and remained apart on the north side of the Temple 
court, reserved for any use which the innovating King might 
think fit to make of it. To the new altar he devoted all his 
reverence, and,, with all the royal state of the ancient sacrifices, 
he came there morning and evening to present in his own 

Micah vi. 6-9. See Lecture VIII. ' planets' in ver. 5. 
' Isa. h\ 6, 8, 20, viii. 19. 5 2 Kings xxiii. 11 ; Quint. Curt. iii. 3 ; 

* Ibid, xxxviii. 8. Comp. Herodot.ii. Herod, i. 189. See Thenius, ad Ice. 
10 9- * 2 Kings xvi. 10-16. The whole of 

*a Kings xxiii. 5, 12; translated this is omitted in 2 Chr. xxviii. 

394 HEZEKIAH. lect. xxxyiii. 

person the accustomed offerings. 1 With these additions 'to the 
grandeur of the Temple worship, were combined changes of a 
very different kind. Not only were sacred treasures confiscated, 
as often before, to appease the invaders, but the sacred furni- 
ture and vessels themselves despoiled. The brazen bulls, which 
stood beneath the great bason, were taken away, and the bason 
placed on a pedestal of stone. The curious brazen engines of 
the lesser basons as well as the canopy of brass over the royal 
stand, and the brazen ornaments of the royal entrance, were 
removed, 2 as if belonging to an inferior age. Towards the end 
of his reign, the great doors of the Temple were shut up, the 
sacred lamps were not lighted, 3 nor incense offered inside, and 
the whole interior left to decay and neglect. 4 

It was not without strong outward pressure that these spolia- 
tions were made. The neighbouring nations had taken advan- 
tage of the weak character of the young prince to assert again 
an independence which the vigorous rule of the three previous 
kings had kept at bay. Now took place that formidable union 
of Syria with Israel which has been before described. Far 
down to the Gulf of Akaba the shock of the invasion was felt. 
Elath, the favourite seaport of Jehoshaphat and Uzziah, was 
recovered from Judah and made over to the adjacent Edom- 
The Syrian ites. 5 Jerusalem itself was threatened; a usurper was 
war - to be established on the throne of David. 6 The 

alarm was extreme in the royal family when the news of the 
hostile alliance came. It was as if a hurricane had passed over 
the city, and every heart heaved and rustled in the wind of the 
general alarm. 7 The King and the nobles, 8 in their survey of 
the weak points in the fortifications and waterworks of the 
city, 9 had reached a well-known public spot just outside the 
city walls, 10 when Isaiah, with his eldest son, suddenly appeared 
before them. The importance of the crisis was worthy of the 
Prophet's decisive messages. In words, and by signs, now 

1 2 Kings xvi. 15 (Heb.). * 2 Chr. xxviii. 24, xxix. 3, 7, 16, 17. 

* Ibid. xvi. 17, 18. s 2 Kings xvi. 6 (LXX.). 

3 The closing of the Temple gates and * Isa. vii. 6. 7 Ibid. vii. 2. 

extinction of the candlesticks is still cele- * Ibid. vii. 13. *- 9 Ibid. vii. 3. 

brated as a fast on the 18th of Ab (end of ,0 Ibid. vii. 3, xxxvi. 2 ; 2 Kings xviii 

July or beginning of August). 17, 26. 

lect. xxxviii. THE SYRIAN WAR. 395 

difficult to decipher, he foretold the rapid destruction of the 
two hostile powers. There was to be a sudden and wonderful 
birth of a child, bearing a Divine name, whose childhood 
should not be finished before the deliverance ' came. The 
deliverance was to appear unexpectedly, through the coming 
of the distant Assyrians. 2 There was inscribed in large lettern. 
in the public square of the city, Rapid spoiler, speedy prey. 
which within the year became the name of another child of the 
Prophet. 3 An heir was to spring up to the throne of David, 
combining all the noblest qualities of God and man. 4 It is the 
same amalgamation of the highest and the widest hopes 
with contemporary events, which is familiar to us through the 
fourth Eclogue of Virgil, in part, possibly, founded on this 
very passage. The expectation of an actual child within a 
short time, and the endeavour to concentrate on that child the 
far loftier aspirations with which, as it were, the air was full, is 
almost the same in the Hebrew Prophet and the Roman poet. 5 
In Isaiah's case, the immediate prediction v:as fulfilled. There 
was a severe battle, in which three of the chief officers of the 
Court were killed, 6 and many prisoners taken ; but it was 
the last of such attacks from the neighbour state:. The appear- 
ance of the Assyrians on the scene, and the readiness of 
Ahaz to purchase their alliance, at once broke the power of 
Damascus, and in the next reign destroyed no less the nearer 
power of Israel. 

1 Isa. vii. 14-16 (see Ewald and Go 'whom among the most illustrious offspring 
senius, ad loc). 'of this auspicious age the poet's glowing 

2 Ibid. vii. 17-20. 'language may be fitly referred. . . 

3 Ibid. viii. 1-4. ' After all their claims have been weighed 

* Ibid. ix. 1-6. ' and dismissed, we are still at a loss for an 

* See Merivale's History of tlie Romans ' object to whom, in the mind of the writer, 
under the Empire, ill- 231. ' Scribonia ' the sublime vaticination can be consist- 
' was about to give a child to Octavius, ' ently applied.' This might be said almost 
' Octavia to Antonius. Pollio had also word for word of the difficulty of adjust- 
' two sons born nearly at the same time. ing tho claims of the children of Isaiah's 
' . . . The near coincidence of all these time— whether his own sons or the Prince 
'distinguished births is t jnnccted with Hezekiah wi:h tlio e: r.lted predictions 
'one of the most intricate questions of of the Divine Child in let vii. 14-20, ix. 
' literary history. In his fourth Eclogue, 6,7. See Ew-ld, Proph. 213. 

' addressed to Pollio ; Virgil celebrates the * 2 Chroru xxviii. 5-15. For a defence 

' peae of Brundisium, and anticipates of thi" account, and a good statement of 

' apparently the birth of a wondrous boy the importance of the war, see Caspari, 

' who shall restore the Saturnian age of Ueber den Syrisch - Ephraimitischin 

gold. . We are impelled to inquire to Krieg, pp. 28-72. 


ibct. xxxnn. 

But Judah itself would have been subjected to its powerful 
ally, had not Ahaz been succeeded by a Prince of a very 
different character from himself. 

The reign of Hezekiah is the culminating point of interest 
in the history of the Kings of Judah. Whether or not the 
Hezekiah contemporary prophecies, foretelling the birth of a 
Divine heir to the throne, contained any reference to 
the son of Ahaz, then a mere child, it is certain that no other 
Prince since the death of David could so well have answered 
to them. There is a strong Jewish tradition that he applied to 
himself not only the predictions of Isaiah, but the 20th and 
110th Psalms. 1 It was a saying of Hillel that there would be 
no Messiah for Israel in future times, because He had already 
appeared in Hezekiah. He himself, it was said, with the ex- 
pectation of immortality thus engendered, took no care to 
marry or secure the succession till startled by his alarming ill- 
ness. In point of fact he was the centre of the highest Pro- 
phetic influence which had appeared since Elijah. Isaiah was 
his constant counsellor. His maternal grandfather Zachariah 2 
may have been not improbably the favourite Prophet of Uzziah. 
First of the royal family since David, he was himself 3 a poet. 
He gives the first distinct example of an attempt to collect the 
sacred books of his country. By his orders a large part 4 of the 
Proverbs of Solomon — to which Jewish 5 tradition adds the 
Prophecies of Isaiah, the Book of Ecclesiastes, and the Can- 
ticles — were written out and preserved. The Psalms of David, 6 
and of Asaph the seer, the musical services prescribed by David 
and by David's two attendant Prophets, Gad and Nathan, were 
revived by him. The services of the Temple, and the instruc- 
tions established by Jehoshaphat, 7 were restored. The same 
antiquarian turn, if one may so call it, showed itself in the con- 
tinuance of his father's passion for collecting costly works of 
art. The palace at Jerusalem was a storehouse of gold, silver, 

Cosmas Indicopleustes {Coll. Patr. * Prov. xxv. i. 

ii. 301) ; Justin. Dial. c. Tryph. ; Tertull. 5 See the statement from the Talmud, 

adv. Marc. v. 9 ; Pearson, On tlu Creed, in Gesenius, Jesaia, i. p. 16. 
p. 112. 6 2 Chr. xxix. 25. 31. 

* 2 Kings xviii. 2. ' Ibid. xxxi. 4 ; comp. xvii. 9, 

* Isa. xxxviii. 9-ao. 

i.kct. xxxtiii. HIS CONVERSION. 397 

and jewels : the porch of the palace was once more hung with 
splendid shields. 1 Even in the changes which he introduced 
into the Temple, he spared all the astrological 2 altars and 
foreign curiosities which Ahaz had erected. Both in the capi- 
tal and the country, he promoted the arts of peace like his 
ancestor Uzziah. Towers and 3 enclosures sprang up for the 
vast herds and flocks of the pastoral districts. The vineyards, 
oliveyards, and cornfields were again cultivated. The towers 
and fortifications 4 of Jerusalem, the supply of water to the 
town, both by aqueduct from without, and by a reservoir hewn 
out of the solid rock, were for centuries connected with his 
name. ■ Peace 5 and truth ' were the watchwords of his reign. 
When the merits of the Kings were summed up after the fall 
of the monarchy, Hezekiah was, by a deliberate judgment, put 
at the very top. There was, 'after him, none like him among 
1 the Kings of Judah, nor any that was before him.' 6 

In descending from this general picture to the details of 
the reign, the difficulty of any consistent 7 chronological arrange- 
ment of the events is almost insuperable. It will be best to 
take them as they occur in the sacred narrative, open to such 
corrections as the various discoveries of chronologers may 

i. The 'Conversion' of Hezekiah, as in modern times it 
would be called, was due not to Isaiah, but to a less famous 
Conversion contemporary. It would seem that the corrupt state 
of Hezek.ah. Q f mora i s anc \ religion against which the Prophets of 
the age of Uzziah complained, continued into Hezekiah's reign. 
Suddenly, in the midst of an assembly, in which the King him- 
self was present, there appeared the startling apparition, in the 

1 2 Chr. xxvii. 27 ; 2 Kings xx. 13 ; Ps. sion of Sennacherib, which is required also 

Ixxvi. 4 (Heb.). by the alleged dates derived from the As- 

* 2 Kings xxiii. 12. Syrian inscriptions (see Mr. Rawlinson's 
' 2 Chr. xxii. 28, 29. article on Sennacherib, in the Dictionary 

* Ibid, s ; 2 Kings xx. 20 ; Ps. xlviii. 0/ the Bible). In that case the repentance 
13 ; Ecclus. xlviii. 1 7 ; comp. Ps. lxxxvii described in Jer. xxvi. 19, might coincide 
7 ; Isa. xii. 3. with the repentance in 2 Chr. xxxii. 26. 

\ 2 Kings xx. 19. On the other hand, this transposition is in- 

* Ibid. xviu. 5. consistent not only with the present order 
The natural inference from 2 Kings of the chapters, but with the express state- 

xx. 6 would be, that the illness and the ments of 2 Kings xviii I3 , xx. 1; 2 Chr. 
embassy from Babylon preceded the inva- xxxii. 24 ; Isa. xxxvi. 1. 



simplicity of his savage nakedness, of the Prophet Micah. 1 
With the sharp, abrupt, piercing cry peculiar to his manner, 
he commanded each class to hear him. The people listened 
with awe to the bitter satire with which the nobles were de- 
scribed as preparing their cannibal feast out of the flesh and 
bones of the poor. 2 They heard him denounce the unholy 
compact then first begun between the mercenary Priests and the 
traitor Prophets. They were startled by the energy with which 
he turned fiercely round on his own Prophetic order for selling 
their divinations at a price, and their blessings or their threats 
according to the good eating with which their followers sup- 
plied them. They heard him hail as a blessing the entire 
extinction of the order ; when its sun should set, when the sun 
should go down over the Prophets, and the day should be 
night over them. 3 They must have been yet more amazed 
when he attacked the popular use even of the doctrine of his 
great contemporary, Isaiah. ' God with us,' ' Immanu-El,' the 
pledge of the invincibility of Zion, had passed into an exag- 
gerated and unmeaning dogma. 'They lean upon Jehovah, 
' saying, Is not Jehovah in the midst of us ? 4 No calamity 
'shall come upon us.' It was to contradict this in the most 
direct manner that he drew his picture of the crowded fortress 
of Zion turned into a ploughed field, and the stately palaces of 
Jerusalem sunk into a heap of ruins, and the rocky site of the 
Temple once more like a mountain 5 forest. There was a pause 
when he concluded. It would seem as if for a moment an 
indignant King and people would rise and crush the audacious 
seer. But Hezekiah was not a mere tool in the hands of 
nobles, or priests, or prophets. Micah was left unscathed, and 
the dark prediction was never fulfilled. ' The Lord repented 
Him of the evil which He had pronounced against them.' 
And even in the Prophet's own lifetime — it may be almost im- 
mediately after his warning — succeeded the promise of a pros- 

Jer. xxvi. 18, 19. See Dr. Pusey on completely fulfilled. Part of the south - 

Micah, 290. See Lecture XXXVII. east portion of the city has for several 

2 Micah iii. 1-4. centuries been arable land ; but the rest 

3 Ibid. iii. 5-7. has always been within the walls. In the 

4 Ibid. iii. 11, 12. Maccabaean wars (1 Mace. iv. 36) the 
* Jer. xxvi. 18, 19. The destruction Temple courts were overgrown with shrubs, 

which was then threatened has never been but this has never been the case since. 

Lect. xxxviti. THE PASSOVER. 399 

perity before unknown ; when the nation should ' in peace be 
like the gentle dew, in war like the lion in forest and fold, or 
like a fierce bull treading down his enemies on the threshing- 
floor, with horns of iron and hoofs of brass. 

The wild dirge of Micah had been aimed against the 
moral evils of the nation. The neglect of the Temple, the 
total abeyance of the Mosaic ritual, were as nothing in his eyes. 
On the other hand, of any moral reformation the Chronicler 
tells us nothing. But the outward reformation which he de- 
scribes was doubtless the expression of an inward change also. 

The great doors of the Temple so long closed were opened. 
The King himself took the command. The Priests hung back 
from the revolution which swept away the neglect which the 
head of their order, Urijah, must in some measure have counte- 
nanced. But the Levites, more closely connected with the 
general education of the people, lent themselves heartily to 
the work. Both joined in the ceremonial of a vast sacrifice 
offered by the King and Princes 2 in expiation of the national 
guilt. The people went along with the change, sudden as it 

Immediately on this followed the revival of the Passover, 
of which no celebration had been recorded since the time of 
The Pass- Joshua. Like the Feast of Tabernacles, at the dedi- 
over. cation of Solomon's Temple, it was commemorated 

by the addition of a second week of rejoicing. 3 Not only the 
whole population of the southern kingdom attended it, but, 
although reluctantly, 4 some even of the northern, especially of 
the most northern, parts. 5 It was characteristic of the true 
spirit of the religion of David, that, when these unusual guests 
arrived, without the prescribed ablutions, the King overlooked 
it in consideration of their pure intentions. ' The good Lord 
1 pardoneth every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, 
1 the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed ac- 
1 cording to the purification of the sanctuary.' 6 

' Micah iv. 13, v. 7, 8. s 2 Chr. xxx. 23. 

a 2 Chr. xxix. 27, 29, 30. The whole * Joseph. Ant. ix. 13, § 2 

of this restoration is omitted in the Books h 2 Chr. xxx. n. 

of Kings. R Ibid. xxx. 18, 19. 


HEZEKIAH. lbct. xxxviit. 

From this restoration of the worship of Jehovah, Hezekiah 

proceeded to the removal of superstitions which had existed 

from the earliest times. Beside the Temple worship 

tion of?h£ c " in Jerusalem, had descended what may be called the 

High Places, rural worship of the « high i p i ace s '— at Bethel, 2 at 

Beersheba, 3 at Moriah, 4 on the mountains of Gilead, 5 at 
Ophrah, on the hills of Dan, at Mizpeh and Ramah, on the 
top of 6 Olivet, on Mount Carmel, 7 at Gibeon. 8 They had 
been sanctioned by the Patriarchs, by Samuel, by David, by 
Solomon, by Elijah, by Asa and Jehoshaphat, by Joash and 
the High Priest Jehoiada, by the four first books of the Penta- 
teuch, if not expressly, at least by implication. 9 The 'high 
* place,' properly so called, though doubtless originally deriving 
its name from the eminence on which it stood, was a pillar of 
stone, 10 covered, like Mussulman tombs, or like the sacred 
house of the Kaaba, with rich carpets, robes, and shawls. 11 
An altar stood in front, on which, on ordinary occasions, oils, 
honey, flour, and incense were offered, 12 and, on solemn occa- 
sions, slain animals, as in the Temple. 13 Round about usually 
stood a sacred hedge or grove of trees. 14 Such a grove, as we 
have seen, was allowed to stand even within the Temple pre- 
cincts. There was a charm in the leafy shade 15 of the oak, 
the poplar, and the terebinth, peculiarly attractive 16 to the 
Israelite and Phoenician devotion. With these was 
Brazen joined, within the walls of Jerusalem itself, the time- 
Serpent. nonoure( i worship of the Brazen Serpent. It had 
been brought from Gibeon with the tabernacle, and before it, 
from early times, incense was offered up, as it would seem, by 
the 17 northern as well as the southern kingdom. 

Innocent as these vestiges of ancient religion might seem 

1 i Kings iii. 2 ; Ezek. xx. 29. (Heb.) ; Num. xxxiii. 52 ; 2 Kings xxiii. 15 

2 2 Kings xxiii. 15. " Ezek. xvi. 16. 

3 Amos viii. 14. lS Ibid. 18. 

* 2 Sam. xxiv. 18. ,3 1 Kings iii. 4. 

5 Hos. xii. 11, v. 1, vi. 8. l * 2 Kings xxiii. 15 ; Judg. vi. 26. 

s 2 Kings xxiii. 13. See Ewald, iii. 380 ; Justin, Apol. c. 9. 

7 1 Kings xviii. 30. ,s This is the force of the word trans- 

8 lbid.\\\. 4. lated 'grove.' See Deut. xii. 2 ; 1 Kings 
' Gen. xii. 7, 8, xxi. 13, xxii. 2, 4, xiv. 23 ; 2 Kings xvi. 4 ; Isa. lvii. 5. 

xxxi. 54 ; Judg. vi. 25, xiii. 16 ; 1 Sam. ,s Hos. iv. 13 ; Isa. i. 29 ; Jer. xvii. 2. 

vii. 10, ix, 12-19 ; 2 Sam. xv 32. " 2 Kings xviii. 4, -'The children of 

10 Deut. vii. 5 (Heb.J, xii. 3, xvi. 22 ' Israel burnt incense to it.' 

lbct. xxxviii. THE BRAZEN SERPENT. 40I 

to be, they were yet, like the Golden Calves in the northern 
kingdom, and on exactly similar grounds, inconsistent with the 
strict unity and purity of the Mosaic worship, and had an equal 
tendency to blend with the dark polytheism of the neighbouring 
nations. It was reserved for Hezekiah to make the first on- 
slaught upon them. He was, so to speak, the first Reformer ; 
the first of the Jewish Church to protest against institutions 
which had outlived their usefulness, and which the nation had 
outgrown. The uprooting of those delightful shades, the level- 
ling of those consecrated altars, the destruction of that myste- 
rious figure ' which Moses had made in the wilderness,' must 
have been a severe shock to the religious feelings of the nation. 
There was a wide-spread belief, which penetrated even to the 
adjacent countries, that the worship of Jehovah Himself had 
been abandoned, and that His support could no more be 
expected. 1 The Sacred Serpent, the symbol of the Divine 
Presence, had been treated contemptuously as a mere serpent, 
a 2 mere piece of brass, and nothing more. The altars where 
Patriarchs and Kings had worshipped without rebuke had been 
overthrown, and the devotion of the nation restrained to a single 
spot. Was it possible that the faith of the people could survive, 
when its most cherished relics were so rudely handled, when so 
little was left to sustain it for the future ? So has the popular con- 
servative instinct of every age been terrified at every reforma- 
tion, and maintained, with the alarmists of the time of Hezekiah, 
that, as one destructive step leads to another, we must have 
all or nothing. Hezekiah has been often quoted, and quoted 
justly, as an example that reform is not revolution, that Re- 
ligion does not lose but gain by parting with needless incum- 
brances, however hallowed by long traditions or venerable 

But whatever murmurs there may have been, they were 
checked by the approach of a great calamity, the deliverance 
from which was the best proof that God had not deserted His 
people, because He was worshipped with more truth and more 

1 2 Kings xviii. 23 : 2 Chr. xxxii. 22. 

1 Nachash — serpent ; Xtchusht — brass or brazen. 

II. D D 

402 HEZEKIAH. lect. xxxviii. 

The rise of the Assyrian power has been already described. 
A new king was on the throne of Nineveh, whose name is the 
Senna- ^ rst tnat can De dearly identified in the Hebrew, 
cherib. Assyrian, and Grecian annals — Sennacherib (Sin- 
akki-irib). His grandeur is attested not merely by the details 
of the cuneiform inscriptions, but by the splendour of the palace 
which, with its magnificent entrances and chambers, occupies 
a quarter of Nineveh, 1 and by the allusions to his conquests in 
all the fragments of ancient history that contain any memorial 
of those times. With a pride of style peculiar to himself, he 
claims the titles of ' the great, the powerful King, the King of 
1 the Assyrians, of the nations, of the four regions, the diligent 
' ruler, the favourite of the great gods, the observer of sworn 
' faith, the guardian of law, the establisher of monuments, the 
' noble hero, the strong warrior, the first of kings, the punisher 
' of unbelievers, the destroyer of wicked men.' 2 

Such was the King who for many years filled the horizon 
of the Jewish world. He entered from the north. His chariots 
were seen winding through the difficult passes of Lebanon. 
He climbed to the lofty ' heights,' to the highest caravanserai 3 
of those venerable mountains. He passed along the banks of 
the streams which he drained by his armies, or over which he 
threw bridges for them to cross. 4 It was his boast that he had 
penetrated even to the very sanctuary of Lebanon, where, on 
its extreme border, was the mysterious ' park ' or ' garden ' of 
the sacred cedars. He was renowned far and wide as their 
great destroyer. 5 Inscriptions in his Assyrian palace record 
with pride that the wood with which it was adorned came from 
Lebanon. He was himself regarded as the 6 Cedar of cedars. 
They shrieked aloud — so it seemed to the ear of the wakeful 
Prophets of the time — as they felt the fire at their roots, and 
saw the fall of their comrades. They raised a shout of joy 
when the tidings reached them that he was fallen. 7 He de- 

1 Koyunjik. See a summary of his 23. Compare the same word (meaning 

life as derived from the inscriptions, in 'to stay the night '), Isa. x. 29. 
Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, 138-147 ; * Isa. xxxvii. 24, 25 (LXX.). 

and in Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies, s Layard 's Nineveh and Babylon, p. 

ii. 428-466. 118. 

* Rawlinson, ii. 456. " Isa. x. 33, 34. 

■ ' The lodge of its end.' 2 Kings xix. 7 Zech. xi. 1, %. 


scended by the romantic gorge of the river of the Wolf. 1 His 
figure is still to be seen there carved on the rock, side by side 
with the memorials of the two greatest empires of the world 
before and after him — the Egyptian Rameses who had preceded 
him by a thousand years, and the Roman Antoninus who by a 
thousand years succeeded him. From Arvad or Sidon he must 
have embarked for Cilicia, with a view to occupy the Phoenician 
island of Cyprus ; and there took place the first encounter be- 
tween the Greeks and the Asiatics. There, also, Tarsus is said 
to have been founded, and, by a curious association, the city 
of the Apostle of the Gentiles derived its 2 origin from the 
sagacious selection of the Assyrian conqueror. 

The main object of Sennacherib was not Palestine, but 
Egypt, the only rival worthy of his arms. To have dried 3 up 
the canals of the Nile was the climax of his ambition. It was 
as the outposts of Egypt that the fortresses of southern Palestine 
stood in the way of his great designs. Already Sargon, 4 his 
predecessor, had sent his 5 general against the strong Philistine 
city of Ashdod, then governed by an independent king. 6 There 
was an army of Ethiopian and Egyptian auxiliaries to defend it. 
But the city was taken, its defenders were carried off, stripped 
of their clothing and barefoot, 7 and their King fled to Egypt. 
Sennacherib now followed his father's example. His immediate 
object 8 was Lachish, as Sargon's had been Ashdod. But it 
would have been useless to occupy any Philistine city, whilst 
the strong fortress of Jerusalem remained in the rear. 

It is this which brings him and his army within the view of 
the Sacred History. All intervening obstacles, north, and east, 
and west, had been swept away. Monarchies had perished of 
ancient renown, but whose names alone have survived this de- 
vastation : the king of Hamath and the king of Arphad, the 

' See Sinai and Palestine, chap. K Rawlinson, Five Monarchies, ii. 412, 

XII. 43*. 

* Strabo, xiv. 4, 8 ; Arrian ii. 5. ' Isa. xx. 4. 

' 2 Kings xix. 24 CHeb.). It is on this * Lachish was evidently at this time 

chiefly that Ewald (iii. 631 note) bases the one of the strongest fortresses of Judah. 

supposition that Sennacherib was now on There Amaziah had taken refuge (2 Kings 

his return from Egypt. xiv. 19). It had been fortifie : by Reho- 

4 Founder of Khorsabad, which bore beam (2 Chr. xi. 9). Nebuchadnezzar 

his name. attacked it (Jer. xxxiv. 7). 

* Isa. xx. 1. Tartan = general. 

D 2 

404 HEZEKIAH. lect. xxxvni. 

king of the city of Sepharvaim, ! Hena, and Ivah. Calno had 
become 2 as Carchemish, and Hamath as Arphad j there was 
not one of them left to tell their story. Damascus 3 was a heap 
of ruins. The fortress 4 of Ephraim had ceased. Tyre had 
been attacked, 5 and greatly weakened. The desolations of 
Moab had roused once more the Prophetic dirge. The wild 
Arabs of Dumah asked fearfully of the night of the future. The 
caravans of the Dedanites fled from the sword and bow of the 
conqueror. The glory of Kedar 6 failed before him. Even in 
western nations Sennacherib was known as King 7 of the 
Arabs. Philistia, which had for a moment rejoiced in her 
rival's danger, shrieked 8 in terror as she saw the column of 
smoke advancing from the north, and sought for help from her 
ancient foe. 

Each stage of the march 9 of the army into Judaea was fore- 
seen. He was first expected at Aiath. There was the renowned 
defile of Michmash — the Rubicon, as it seemed, of the sacred 
territory — the precipitous pass, on the edge of which he would 
pause for a moment with his vast array of military baggage. 
They would pass over, and spend their first night at Geba. The 
next morning would dawn upon a terror-stricken neighbour- 
hood. Each one of those Benjamite fortresses, on the top of 
its crested hill, or down in its deep ravine, seems ready to leave 
its rooted base and fly away — Ramah, Gibeah, Michmash, Geba 
— and the cries of Gallim and Laish are reverberated by Ana- 
thoth, the village of echoes. It is a short march to Jerusalem, 
and the evening will find him at Nob, the old sanctuary on the 
northern corner of Olivet, within sight of the Holy City. ' He 
' shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of 
' Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.' 

It was as if the great rivers of Mesopotamia — the sea-like 
rivers, as they seemed to the Israelites — had burst their bounds, 

1 2 Kings xviii. 34. Except Hamath * Herod, ii. 141. See Ewald, Propk* 

and Carchemish, all these towns are un- 235. 

certain ; most of them seem to have been • Isa. xiv. 31 (Heb.). 

on the Euphrates. * Ibid. x. 28-32. That this march of 

a Isa. x. 9. Sennacherib was not actual, but (as Dr. 

3 Ibid. xvii. i,x. 9. Pusey well remarks on Micah, p. 293) 

* Ibid. x. 9. s Ibid, xxiii. it. 'ideal,' appears from the account of his 

* Ibfd. xxiii. 13- 16. approach by Lachish. 

lrct. xxxviu. INVASION OF SENNACHERIB. 405 

and were sweeping away nation after nation, in their irresistible 
advance. From a distance the sound of their approach had 
been as the roaring of wild beasts, as the roaring of the sea. 1 
' The multitudes of many people, a rushing of nations, like the 
' rushing of mighty waters.' 2 And now these waves upon 
waves had passed over into Judah, and overflowed ' and gone 
' over,' and seemed to ' have filled the sacred land,' 3 to be dash- 
ing against the very rock of Zion itself. Out of those mighty 
waters the little kingdom alone stood uncovered. Nothing 
else was in sight. The fenced cities of Judah were taken— 
Zion alone remained. The desolation was as if the country 
had been held up like a bowl, and its inhabitants shaken out of 
it. It was even regarded as the first act of the captivity of 
Judah. 4 

Up to this point Hezekiah had been firm in maintaining 
the independence of his country. 5 But now even he gave way. 
Submission The show of resistance which he had assumed on the 
of Hezekiah. death of Sargon he could sustain no longer. He paid 
the tribute required. The gold with which he had covered the 
cedar gates and the brazen pillars of the Temple, he stripped off 
to propitiate the invader. Peace was concluded. Both at 
Nineveh and Jerusalem we are able to read the effects. At 
Nineveh, if we may trust the inscriptions, Sennacherib 
spoke as 6 follows : — ' And because Hezekiah, King of Judah, 
' would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him, and by 
1 force of arms, and by the might of my power, I took forty-six 
1 of his strong fenced cities, and of smaller towns which were 
1 scattered about, I took and plundered a countless number. 
1 And from those places I captured and carried off as spoil 
' 200,150 people, old and young, male and female together, 
1 with horses and mares, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a 
1 countless multitude. And Hezekiah himself I shut up in 
* Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building 

' Isa. v. 30. s According to the Assyrian inscrip- 

* Ibid. xvii. 12. tions he had taken charge of the king of 
1 Ibid. viii. 7, 8. Ekron, delivered to him by the rebels 

* Ibid. xxiv. 1-12. Demetrius, in of that city. Rawlinson's Ancient Mon- 
Clemens Alex. Strom, i. 403. Rawlinson's archies, ii. 432. 

Ancient Monarchies, ii. 435. c From Rawlinson, ii. 435. 



1 towers round the eity to hem him in, and raising banks of 
* earth against the gates to prevent his escape. . . . Then 
1 upon this Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my 
1 arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of 
1 Jerusalem, with thirty ■ talents of gold, and eight hundred 
1 talents of silver, and divers treasures, and rich and immense 
1 booty. ... All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, 
' the seat of my government, Hezekiah having sent them by 
1 way of tribute, and as a token of his submission to my 
' power.' 

In Jerusalem there was a strange reaction of policy. The 
invading army passed in long defile under the walls of the city. 
It was composed chiefly of two auxiliary forces — one, the 
Syrians of Damascus, distinguished as of old by their shields ; 2 
the other — a name here first mentioned in the Sacred History 
— Elam or Persia, with the archers for which it was famous 
throughout the ancient world. 3 The chariots and horses, in 
which both Syria and Assyria excelled, filled the ravines under- 
neath the walls. The horsemen rode up to the gates. Their 
scarlet dresses and scarlet 4 shields blazed in the sun. The 
veil of the city was, as it were, torn away. The glorious front 
of Solomon's cedar palace and the rents in the walls of Zion 
were seen by the foreigners. 5 

But, instead of regarding this as a day of humiliation, • a 
1 day of trouble, and treading down, and perplexity,' 6 the whole 
city was astir with joy at this deliverance through their un- 
worthy submission. The people crowded to the flat tops of the 
houses, in idle curiosity, to see the troops pass by : 7 instead 
of l weeping and mourning, and cutting off the hair, and sack- 
1 cloth,' there was joy and gladness, slaying of oxen and killing 
of sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. Whatever evil might 
be in store, they were satisfied to live for a day. ' Let us eat 
'and drink, for to-morrow we die.' 8 Isaiah was there, and 
looked on with unutterable grief. ' Look away from me, I will 

1 The sum of gold mentioned, 30 3 Comp. Isa. xiii. 17, 18 ; Jer. xlix. 35. 
talents, is the same in 2 Kings xviii. 14; * Isa. ix. 5 (Ewald, Propheten, 226); 
the sum of silver, 800 talents, is in Kings Nahum ii. 3, and so on in the sculptures. 
300. * Isa. xxn. 8, 9. * Ibid. xxii. 5. 

2 Isa. xxii. 6 ; comp. Amos i. 5, ix. 7. 7 Ibid. xxii. 1, 2. * Ibid. xxii. 13. 

lect. xxxtiii. INVASION OF SENNACHERIB. 407 

1 weep bitterly. Labour not to comfort me. In the midst of 
the revelry, an awful voice sounded in his ears, ' that this was 
' an iniquity which could never be forgiven on this side the 
' grave.' l 

Amongst the advisers of the King in this act of submission, 
there was one who attained a fatal eminence. It was Shebna, 
the chief 2 minister, who was over the household, and bore the 
Kail of key of state. His chariots were of royal state. The 
shebna. tomb which he had prepared for himself in the rocky 
sides of Jerusalem was conspicuous in height and depth. 3 On 
him the Prophet poured forth a malediction which, for its 
personal severity, stands alone in his writings ; the only expres- 
sions in his writings that in any way recall the fierce impre- 
cations of the Psalter. He was to be driven from his station, 
and pulled down from his state. 4 ' Behold the Lord shall sling 
1 and sling, and pack and pack, and toss and toss thee away 
' like a ball, into a distant land, and there shalt thou die.' 5 

How far this took effect ultimately we know not. But its 
partial results are soon visible. Shebna's next appearance is in 
the inferior office of secretary, and in his place we find Eliakim. 
He was to assume the insignia of the key of state, the mantle 
and the girdle. He was now advanced in years, and thus his 
family were numerous enough to add to his power, as well as to 
share in it. He was to be like a huge nail or house-peg driven 
into the palace, of which he was the chief minister, and all his 
sons and grandsons, great and small, like cups, of all shapes 
and sizes, were to hang and cluster round him. 6 

Whether from the fall of Shebna or the warnings of Isaiah, 
as soon as the immediate danger was removed, Hezekiah took 
Resistance courage, and again raised the standard of indepen- 
of Hezekiah. <~[ ence A.n embassy had arrived from the power- 
ful Egyptian king, Tirhakah, in his distant land of Ethiopia, 
with promises of assistance. 7 The Philistines who occupied the 

1 Isa. xxii. 4, 14. " Ibid. xxii. 17, 1 8 (Heb.). 

1 See Sir E. Strachey's Hebrew Politics, * Ibid. xxii. 24. Comp. Lecture XXXV. 

ch. xvi. and F. Newman's Hebrew Mon- 7 Ibid, xviii. r, 2 ; 2 Kings xix. 9. 

arcky, p. 296. His name appears in Manetho, on the 

* Isa. xxii. 16, 18. Monuments, and in Strabo, x. p. 61, xv. 

* Ibid. xxii. 19. p. 687. Kenrick's .fi^y/r, 371. 



frontier between Judah and Egypt, had been subdued by Heze- 
kiah, apparently with a view to this very alliance. 1 On the 
hope of gaining the chariots 2 and horses, which constituted the 
main forces of Egypt, the King and people buoyed themselves 
up. All across the perilous desert gifts were sent on troops of 
asses and camels to propitiate 3 the great ally. 

But it was an alliance fraught with danger to the Jewish 
commonwealth. The policy of the Egyptian King would have 
been to use the warlike little state as an outpost to sustain the 
first shock of the enemy before he entered the Delta. Their 
1 strength 4 was to sit still ' and sacrifice their weaker neighbour. 
The tall reed of the Nile-bulrush 5 would only pierce the hand 
of him that leaned upon it. Isaiah began the course of pro- 
tests against the alliance, which was taken up by all the 
subsequent 6 Prophets. Hezekiah responded to the call. By 
a sustained effort — which gave him a peculiar renown " as a 
second Founder or Restorer of the city of David— he stopped 
the two springs of Siloam, and diverted the waters of the 
Kedron, which, unlike its present dry state, and unusually even 
for that time, had been flooding 8 its banks ; and in this way 
the besiegers, as he hoped, would be cut off from all water on 
the barren hills around. He also fortified the walls, and rebuilt 
the towers, which had probably not been repaired on the north 
side since the assault of Joash king of Israel, 9 and completed 
the armoury and outworks of the castle or fortress of Milo. 10 
He assembled the people in the great square or open place 
before the city gate, and there, with his officers, nobles, and 
guards, 11 addressed the people, in a spirit which, combined 
with his active preparations, reminds us of the like combination 
in the well-known speech of Cromwell. 'And the people 
1 rested on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.' Well might 
any nation repose on one to whom even now the world may 

1 2 Kings xviii. 8. ' Ecclus. xlviii. 17. 

1 Isa. xxxi. 1. * 2 Chr. xxxii. 4 (Heb.) ; see Isa. yiii. 

* Ibid. xxx. 6. 6 ; Ps. xlvi. 4. 

* Such is the real meaning of Isa. 9 2 Chr. xxxii. 5 ; comp. 2 Kings xiv. 
xxx. 7. 13. 

6 2 Kings xviii. 21 ; Isa. xxxvi. 6. 10 2 Chr. xxxii. 5. 

* Isa. xviii., xix., xx 4-6, xxx. 1-7, " Ibid, xxxii. 3, 6. 
xxxi. 1-3. 

txct. xxvvm. INVASION OF SENNACHERIB. 409 

turn as a signal example of what is meant by Faith, as distinct 
from Fanaticism. 

The intelligence of these preparations reached Sennacherib 
as he was encamped before Lachish, seated in state, as we see 
him in the monuments, on his sculptured throne, his bow and 
arrows in his hand, his chariots and horses of regal pomp 
behind him ; the prisoners bending before him, half-clothed 
and barefoot, from the captured city. 1 From this proud 
position he sent a large detachment to Jerusalem, headed by 
the Tartan, or ' General ' of the host. 2 They took up their 
position on the north of the city, on a spot long afterwards 
known as 'the camp of the 3 Assyrians.' The General, accom- 
panied by two high personages, known like himself through 
their official titles, ' the Head of the Cup-bearers ' and ' Head 
' of the Eunuchs,' 4 approached the walls, and came to the same 
spot where, many years before, Isaiah had met Ahaz. 5 Heze- 
kiah feared 6 to appear. In his place came Eliakim, now chief 
minister, Shebna, now in the office of secretary, and Joah, the 
royal historian. The Chief Cupbearer was the spokesman. 
He spoke in Hebrew. The Jewish chiefs entreated him to 
speak in his own Aramaic. But his purpose was directly to 
address the spectators, as they sate on the houses along the 
city wall, and his speech breathes the spirit which pervades all 
the representations of Assyrian power. That grave majestic 
physiognomy, that secure reliance on the protecting genius 
under whose wings the King stands on his throne or in his 
chariot, finds its exact counterpart in the lofty irony, the 
inflexible sternness, the calm appeal to a superhuman wisdom 
and grandeur, the confidence, as in a Divine mission, to sweep 
away the religions of all the surrounding countries, which we 
read in the defiance both of the Rab-Shakeh and of the great 
King himself. 7 

The defiance was received by the people in dead silence. 
The three ministers tore their garments in horror, and appeared 
in that state before the King. He, too, gave way to the same 

1 As in Isa. xx. 4. See Layard, * Rab-Shakeh and Rab-Saris. 

Nineveh and Babylon, 149-152. * 2 Kings xviii. 17 ; comp. Isa. vii. 3. 

• 2 Kings xviii. 17. • Joseph. Ant. x. 1, § 2. 

• Joseph. B. J. v. 7, § 3 ; 12, § 2. '2 Kings xviii. 18-35 ; Isa. x. 8-1 1. 

410 HEZEKIAH. tiaer. xxxvm. 

uncontrolled burst of grief. He and they both dressed them- 
selves in sackcloth, and the King took refuge in the Temple. 
The ministers went to seek comfort from Isaiah. The insult- 
ing embassy returned to Sennacherib. The army was removed 
from Lachish, and lay in front of the fortress of Libnah. A 
letter couched in terms like those already used by his envoys, 
was sent direct from the King of Assyria to the King of Judah. 
What would be their fate if they were taken, they might know 
from the fate of Lachish, which we still see on the sculptured 
monuments, where the inhabitants are lying before the King, 
stripped in order to be flayed alive. 1 Hezekiah took the letter, 
and penetrating, as it would seem, into the most Holy Place, 
laid it before the Divine Presence enthroned above the cherubs, 
and called upon Him whose name it insulted, to look down 
and see with His own eyes the outrage that was offered to Him. 
From that dark recess no direct answer was vouchsafed. The 
answer came through the mouth of Isaiah. From the first 
moment that Sennacherib's army had appeared, he had held 
the same language of unbroken hope and confidence, clothed 
in every variety of imagery. At one time it was, as we have 
seen, the rock of Zion amidst the raging flood. At another, it 
was the lion of Judah, roaring fiercely for his prey, undismayed 
by the multitude of rustic shepherds gathered round to frighten 
him. 2 At another, it is the everlasting wings of the Divine 
protection, like those of a parent bird brooding over her young 
against the great Birdsnester of the world, whose hand is in 
every nest, gathering every egg that is left, till no pinion should 
be left to flutter, no beak left to chirp. 3 Or, again, it is the 
mighty cedar of Lebanon, with its canopy of feathering branches, 
which yet shall be hewn down with a crash that shall make the 
nation shake at the sound of his fall ; whilst the tender branch 
and green shoot shall spring up out of the dry and withered 
stump of the tree of Jesse, 4 which shall take root downward 
and bear fruit upward. Or, again, it is the contest between 
the Virgin Queen, the impregnable 5 daughter of Zion, sitting 

1 Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, 150. 4 Isa. x. 33, 34 (comp. Ezek. xxxi. 3-6), 

2 Isa. xxxi. 4, xi. i, xiv. 8. 

* Ibid. xxxi. s, x. 14. • See the quotations by Gesenius on 

lect. xxxviii. FALL OF SENNACHERIB. 411 

on her mountain fastness, shaking her head in noble scorn, 
and the savage monster, the winged bull, which had come up 
against her, led captive, with a ring in his nostrils, and a bridle 
in his lips, to turn him back by the way by which he came. 1 
At times he speaks plainly and without a figure. ' Where is 
1 the scribe, where the receivers, where is he that counted the 

* towers ? ' ■ Behold in the morning he is, and in the evening 
1 he is not.' 'He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an 

* arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast up a 
1 bank against it.' 2 

It was a day of awful suspense. In proportion to the 
strength of Isaiah's confidence and of Hezekiah's devotion, 
would have been the ruin of the Jewish Church and 
Senna- faith, if they had been disappointed of their hope. 
It was a day of suspense also for the two great armies 
which were drawing near to their encounter on the confines of 
Palestine. Like Anianus in the siege of Orleans, 3 Hezekiah 
must have looked southward and westward with ever keener 
and keener eagerness. For already there was a rumour that 
Tirhakah the King of Egypt was on his way to the rescue. 
Already Sennacherib had heard the rumour, and it was this 
which precipitated his endeavour to intimidate Jerusalem into 

The evening closed in on what seemed to be the devoted 
city. The morning dawned, and with the morning came the 
tidings from the camp at Libnah, that they were delivered. 
' Una nox interfuit inter maximum exercitum et nullum.' 'It 

* came to pass [that 4 night] that the Angel of Jehovah went 
1 forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and 
1 fourscore and five thousand.' 

By whatever mode 5 accomplished — whether by plague or 

Isa. xxiii. 12, to show that the expression 5 By what spe< ial means this great 

'virgin fortress' was used then as with us. destruction was effected, with how large 

1 Isa. xxxvii. 29. As the captives on or how small a remnant Sennacherib 
the walls of Khorsabad (Thenius). returned, is not told. It might be a pesti- 

2 Ibid, xxxiii. 18, xvii. 14, xxxvii. 33. lential blast (Isa. xxxvii. 7 ; Joseph. Ant. 

3 Gibbon, chap. 35. X. X, § 5), according to the analogy* by 
* 2 Kings xix. 35. These words are which a pestilence is usually described 

not in Isa. xxxvii. 36. But the fact that it in Scripture under the image of a destroy- 
was in a single night is confirmed by Ps. ing angel (Ps. lxxviii. 49 ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 
xlvi. 5 (Heb.) ; Isa. xvii. 14. 

412 HEZEKIAH. lbct. xxxtui. 

tempest ; or on whatever scene, whether, as seems implied by 
the Jewish account, at Lachish, or, by the Egyptian account, 
at Pelusium l — the deliverance itself was complete and final. 
The Assyrian King at once returned, and, according to the 
Jewish tradition, wreaked his vengeance on the Israelite exiles 
whom he found in Mesopotamia. 2 He was the last of the , 
great Assyrian conquerors. No Assyrian host again ever 
crossed the Jordan. Within a few years from that time, as we 
have seen, the Assyrian power suddenly vanished from the 

The effect of the event must have been immense, in pro- 
portion to the strain of expectation and apprehension that had 
preceded it. Isaiah had staked upon his prophetic word the 
existence of his country, his own and his people's faith in God. 
So literally had that word been fulfilled that he was himself, in 
after times, regarded as 3 the instrument of the deliverance. 
There is no direct expression of his triumph at the moment, 
but it is possible that we have his 4 hymn of thanksgiving when 
he afterwards heard of the world-renowned murder which struck 
down the mighty King 5 in the temple at Nineveh. 6 The earth 
again breathes freely. The sacred cedar grove feels itself once 
more secure. The world of shades, the sepulchre of kings, 
prepares to receive its new inmate. 

Art thou also become weak as we ? art thou become as one of us ? 
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning ! 
How art thou cut down to the earth, that didst weaken the nations ! 
Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake 
kingdoms ? 

16) ; and the numbers are not greater than * Ecclus. xlviii. 20, ' delivered them by 

are recorded as perishing within very short ' the ministry of Esay.' 
periods— 150,000 Carthaginians in Sicily, 4 The argument in Strachey's Hebrew 

500,000 in seven months at Cairo (Gesenius, Politics, 149, seems to be very strong for 

ad loc). It might be accompanied by a supposing that by the ' king ' in Isa. xiv. 

storm. So Vitringa understood it, and 4 is meant the king of Assyria, 
this would best suit the words in Isa. xxx. 5 See Vance Smith, Assyrian Prophe- 

29. Such is the Talmudic tradition, cies, 212 ; Gesenius on Isa. xxxix. 1. 
according to which the stones were still to 6 The god Nisroch, to whom the temple 

be seen in the Pass of Bethhoron up which is dedicated, is unknown to the Assyrian 

Sennacherib was supposed to be advancing inscriptions, and is in the Greek MSS. 

with his army. variously reported as Asarac, Mesoroc, or 

1 Herod, ii. 141. Nasarac. Rawlinson, ii. 265. 

1 Tobit i. 18. 

lect. xxxviii. FALL OF SENNACHERIB. 413 

That made the earth as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities 

All the kings of the nations, all of them rest in glory, each one in 

his house ; 
But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch. 1 

If there is any doubt as to the Prophet's utterance, there is 
none as to the burst of national thanksgiving as incorporated 
iri the Book of 2 Psalms, when, at the close of that night, 
1 God's help appeared as the morning broke.' 3 The rock of 
Zion 4 had remained immovable, deriving only life and fresh- 
ness from the deluge of the mighty river which had swept the 
surrounding kingdoms into the sea. The Prophetic pledge of 
the name of Immanuel 5 was redeemed. Again and again the 
Psalmist repeats, ' God is our refuge j ' ' God is in the midst of 
1 her j ' ' the Lord of hosts is with us ; ' ' the God of Jacob, 
'the God of Jacob, is our refuge.' 'In Salem is His leafy 
1 covert, and His rocky den in Zion.' 6 The weapons of the 
great army, such as we see them in the Assyrian monuments — 
the mighty bow and its lightning arrows, the serried shields 7 — 
were shattered to pieces. The long array of dead horses, 8 the 
chariots now useless left to be 9 burnt, the spoils carried off 
from the dead, all rise to view in the recollection of that night. 
The proud have slept their sleep, and the mighty 10 soldiers 
fling out their hands in vain. The arms have fallen from their 
grasp. The neigh of the charger, the rattle of the chariot, are 
alike hushed in the sleep of death. The wild uproar is over, 
the whole world is silent, 11 and in that awful stillness the 
Israelites descend from the heights of Jerusalem, 12 like their 
ancestors to the shores of the Red Sea, to see the desolation 
that had been wrought on the earth. As then, they carried 
away the spoils as trophies. The towers of Jerusalem were 

1 Isa. xiv. (Ewald and LXX.). xlvi. 9 ; Herod, ii. 141 ; Layard's A7«*z/M, 

J Ps. xlvi., lxxvi., perhaps also xlviii. ii. 340-342. 

and lxxv. ■ Ps. lxxvi. 6 ; Isa. xxxvii. 36. The 

J Ibid. xlvi. 5 (Heb. and Perowne). word used always includes animals. 

Compare Isa. xvii. 14, xxxvii. 36. 9 Ibid. xlvi. 9. Compare Isa. ix. 5 

* Ps xlvi. 3,4,6; Isa. viii. 7. ' The (Lowth). 

' river '= Euphrates. '° Ibid. lxxvi. 5, xlvi. 10. 

* Isa vii. 14. " Ibid, lxxvi. 8, xlvi. 10. 

* Ps. xlvi. 1, 5, 7, 11, lxxvi. 1, 2. " Ibid. xlvi. 8, lxxvi. 4, 5. 
" Isa. xxxvii. 33 ; Ps. lxxvi. 3 (Heb.). 

4H HEZEKIAH. mct. xxxyiii. 

brilliant with the shields l of the dead. The fame of the fall 
of Sennacherib's host struck the surrounding nations with 
terror far and wide. It was like the knell of the great potentates 
of the world ; and in their fall the God of Israel seemed to 
rise to a higher and yet higher exaltation. 2 

The importance of the deliverance was not confined to the 
country or the times of Hezekiah. From the surrounding 
nations tribute poured in as to an awful avenger. 3 One such 
monument long remained in Egypt. Tirhakah, with his ad- 
vancing army from the south, no less than Hezekiah on the 
watchtowers of Jerusalem, heard the tidings with joy ; and 
three centuries afterwards, the Psalmist's exulting cry, that an 
Invisible power had ' broken the arrows of the bow, the shield, 
' the sword, and the battle,' was repeated in other language, but 
with the same meaning, by Egyptian priests, who told to 
Grecian travellers how Sennacherib's army had been attacked 
by mice, which devoured the quivers, the arrows, the bows, the 
handles of the shields. And a statue of the Egyptian king 
Sethos 4 was pointed out in the temple of Phthah at Memphis, 
holding in his hand the mouse, with the inscription, ' Look at 
4 me, and be religious.' 5 

That general reflection of the pious Egyptian is common 
both to him and to Hezekiah. But in connexion with the 
Jewish history, the fall of Sennacherib has at once a more 
special and a more extensive significance. It is the confirma- 
tion of Isaiah's doctrine of the remnant, the pledge of success 
to the few against the many. ' Be strong and courageous, be 
' not afraid or dismayed of the king of Assyria, nor for all the 
' multitude that is with him : for there be more with us than 
• with him : with him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the 
' Lord God, to help us and to fight our battles.' Nor did the 
echoes of the catastrophe cease with its own time. The 
Maccabees 6 were sustained by the recollection of it in their 

1 Ps. lxxvi. 4 (Heb.). * Herod, ii. 441. The explanation of 

* Ibid, lxxvi. 10, 11, xlvi. 10. the mouse as the symbol of invisible de- 

* Ibid, lxxvi. 11 ; 2 Chr. xxxii. 23. struction (in Horapollo, xlvii.) was first 

* Sethos was the King of Lower (as observed by Dean Milman in England, 
Tirhakah of Upper) Egypt. See Ken- and Eichhorn in Germany. 

rick's Egypt, ii. 394. ' 1 Mace. vii. 41. 

lect. xxxtiit. FALL OF SENNACHERIB. 415 

struggle against Antiochus. It is not without reason that in 
the churches of Moscow the exultation over the fall of Sen- 
nacherib is still read on the anniversary of the retreat of the 
French from Russia ; or that Arnold, in his Lectures on 
Modern History, in the impressive ! passage in which he 
dwells on that great catastrophe, declared that for ' the memor- 
' able night of frost in which 20,000 horses perished, and the 
' strength of the French army was utterly broken,' he ' knew of 
1 no language so well fitted to describe it as the words in which 
1 Isaiah described the advance and destruction of the host of 
' Sennacherib.' The grandeur of the deliverance has passed 
into the likeness of all sudden national escapes. The opening 
watchword of the Judaean psalm of triumph, 'God is our refuge 
' and strength,' has furnished the inscriptions over the greatest 2 
of Eastern churches, and the foundation of the most stirring 
national hymn of Western Europe. 3 One of the least religious 
of English poets, by the mere force of kindred genius, has so 
entirely, though perhaps unconsciously, absorbed into his 
1 Hebrew Melody ' the minutest allusions of the contemporary 
Prophets and Psalmist, as to make it a fit summary of the 
whole event. 

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, 

And his cohorts were 4 gleaming in purple and gold ; 

Like the 5 leaves of the forest when Summer is green, 

That host with their banners at sunset were seen. 

Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown, 

That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown. 

For the 6 Angel of Death spread his wings on the 7 blast, 

And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd : 

And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill, 

And their hearts but once heaved and for ever grew 8 still ! 

' Lectures on Modern History, 177; 'Burg ist wiser Gott' (Wackernagels 

and compare Coleridge on Isa. xlvii. 7-13, Geschichte der Kirchenlieder, No. 210). 

in Statesman's Manual. It is given, with an admirable translation, 

3 The Cathedral of S. Sophia at Con- in Carlyle's Essays, ii. 397. 
stantinople, and the earliest cathedral of * Ezek. xxiii. 12, 24. 

the Russian Empire at Kieff. * Isa. x. 34. 

1 Luther's psalm, composed first for his * 2 Chron. xxxii. ai ; Isa. xxxtu. 36. 

own support— sung since in all the critical ' Isa. xxxvii. 7. 

periods of the German nation ' Ein feste * Ps. lxxvi. 5, 8. 

41 6 HEZEKIAH. lect. xxxviii. 

And there lay the ! steed with his nostril all wide, 

Though through it there roll'd not the breath of his pride. 

And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, 

The lances 2 unlifted, the trumpet unblown. 

And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, 

Hath 3 melted like snow in the glance of the Lord ! 

Beneath the excitement of the public crisis, there was 
within the palace a cause for anxiety hardly less. During 
Sennacherib's invasion, or immediately after his 4 retreat, 
Hezekiah, as if worn out by the agitation of the time, was 
illness of struck down with illness. According to the Jewish 
Hezekiah. tradition before mentioned, it was the first intimation 
to him that he was mortal. He was the fourth of his 
house that was seized with what seemed to be a fatal disease. 
But what in Asa, Jehora